A perspective from one of the founders, Adrienne Parcher
Technically, PathLight began in January 2007, when I moved with my husband, Mark, to Jaguar Creek in Belize.
But the real story began three decades earlier, when we met Roy and D’Aun Goble on Easter Sunday, 1987, at a church plant serving young families. The four of us became friends almost instantly, as well as ministry partners.
Over the years, the four of us served together at the church, worked on the board of a nonprofit Roy and D’Aun began called Target Earth, and simply enjoyed life as friends trying to raise our children. Mark and Roy started a pattern of praying together once a week, which went on for fifteen years.
By the mid-2000s, Mark and I both felt a call to international ministry. We spent 2006 in Costa Rica, learning Spanish and teaching in a bilingual Christian School. During that time, Mark and Roy continued their pattern of praying with each other on a weekly basis.
Near the end of our one-year term in Costa Rica, Mark shared with Roy that we were going away for a weekend to pray about what was next for us. Should we move back to California or stay in Costa Rica? Or possibly do something entirely new?
It was also a time of possible transition for Roy and D’Aun. They had stepped away from Target Earth a few years earlier, but the leaders of the nonprofit asked them to consider taking over the missions center, Jaguar Creek, in Belize. Might this be an answer for Mark and I?
As we prayed, it soon became clear that God was putting something new together—and Roy and D’Aun agreed!
In October 2006, Roy met Mark and me in Belize at Jaguar Creek to pray about what God might be doing. A few days at Jaguar Creek had us dreaming about how we could serve the nearby community. All of this led to a special moment at the Belize airport when we signed a paper napkin in the airport restaurant as an agreement to move forward.
In January 2007, Mark and I said goodbye to Costa Rica and moved to Jaguar Creek.
We spent our early months getting to know the staff, making lots of repairs to the facility, and building relationships with people in the nearby village of Armenia. We still didn’t know what God’s long-term plan was, but we knew he would be faithful to direct us as long as we were listening. We didn’t know that while Mark was killing dangerous snakes and I was learning to cook tortillas on a wood-fired stove, God was putting together the pieces of what would become PathLight!
Soon we befriended a young Peace Corps volunteer named Michael in Armenia Village. He alerted us to the need for a scholarship/sponsorship program for the local primary students who were graduating (equivalent to middle school students in the United States). Most kids in Armenia Village, and indeed the whole country, didn’t attend high school, leaving them with few options besides subsistence farming.
I believe that was God opening the door for us to begin PathLight’s Sponsorship+ program, as well as the Teacher Training program. This was a win-win; training teachers would help the rural students be more prepared for high school, and providing students with a mentor and a high school sponsorship could strengthen their faith as well as provide a way to break out of generational poverty.
By 2013, Mark and I felt that the time was right, and God was calling us to step out of the day-to-day operations of PathLight, turning that over to the Belizeans who would move the organization to the next level. It was tough, but it was necessary, and oh-so-much-better to move toward Belizean leadership.
Today we are proud of the legacy built by God through our work with PathLight. It’s a joy to see so many students and teachers blessed by PathLight, which is now entirely a Belizean-led and run organization!