Belize Team Update – Entry #2
I am excited to share about my time of service with this gifted Canadian team from Chapel Ridge Church. I have nothing but positive things to say about each person on our team and the team dynamic we were blessed to experience together as we served alongside the Youth Ministry in Hopkins Village from Pastor Herdie’s church, Ligilisi Lareini Bungiu (Grace of God Church).
Our days were full, it was very hot, yet the enthusiasm remained high! The schedule I shared with you all (below in my previous entry) actually ended up being pretty accurately carried out in the end with usual adjustments along the way.
I personally started out by heading to Belize before the team’s arrival, 4 days ahead, to prepare the ministry schedule with Jerris (one of the youth directors and van host), plan meals throughout the village with several church families and micro finance businesses we are in partnership with, while also catching up with some of our friends and leadership of the church.
While I was there the first week, AdventiveCCI missionary, Kathy McDonald, was field-facilitating another team with Scott and Holly Holder from Atlanta, Georgia-HEI ministries.
They were focusing their service work in the village of Georgetown, another Garifuna village south of Hopkins. I had the privilege of riding to Hopkins with them on Monday morning from the airport and getting to know one of the team members, Jason a bit, as we drove together. I was invited to eat a couple of meals with them as well at their mission-house located south of Hopkins village. I also attended an outreach concert in Thursday night in Georgetown. It was a real joy to participate in prayer and worship as Pastor Herdie shared in music and a teaching from Scripture. The concert was lit with the headlights of our vehicles.
The Ottawa, Chapel Ridge Team arrived on Friday, July 22nd. Jerris, Nadine and I drove to Belmopan to get the luggage rack mounted at My Refuge, pick up some things at the hardware store and then head on to the airport to get the team. It is always exciting to greet the teams as they’re coming through customs! Every time, I hear about miracles from their travels. This time, it was a breakthrough in Houston when they were stopped and not allowed on the place to Belize because their parental release forms weren’t notarized from Canada. But with a call to the Belize Commissioner, they were re issued boarding passes and allowed on the plane with no problem entering Belize. And, they were only charged $35 in customs for all the supplies they were bringing into the country. God is good.
We began our time overnighting Friday night at My Refuge Christian Ministry, in Belmopan. Rosa and Richard Smith shared a meal with us while sharing about their vision and heart for Belize. After a long day of travel, I was touched how attentive the team was, taking in every word. I had the joy of inviting my dear friend Kenzel from Roaring Creek to eat with us and spend time visiting together.
Saturday morning, we had a great night’s sleep and enjoyed a lovely breakfast with the Smiths then headed on our way to Hopkins. With Jerris and his wife Nadine joining with us, we stopped for a swim, team devotions and a picnic lunch at the Blue Hole in the mountains preparing together for our service in Hopkins. We headed on to Dangriga Town to do a short tour at an artist’s museum, Penn Caytano, to learn more about the Garifuna culture before entering Hopkins. We sampled fruit, walked through a garden with all the different plants in Belize, played Garifuna drums, learned through his art about the Garifuna customs, and then had a great discussion and prayed together before leaving and entering into Hopkins Village. We got settled in our new home in Hopkins, had our first meal at Innies with Marva and Claude, then went right to Youth Group at the church where team members shared testimonies, Pastor Luke shared a devotional, we worshipped together and played games. It was a joy to see the team already getting to know the youth group members.
Kathy McDonald met up with us in Hopkins and was a tremendous support and help to our team as she served big time behind the scenes with me. I love serving with Kathy, we have a flow that makes it a joy to work together. I love her heart, the joy, vision and encouragement she brings to teams, and her sincere love for the Lord.
Pictures speak louder than my words
Please enjoy this picture video that shows the different things we were able to be a part of while serving in Hopkins together.
We closed our service time together by spending one full day at Banana Bank Lodge, a family camp, on the edge of the Banana Bank River, in Belmopan, near the jungle. It was important to rest, debrief together and ready ourselves for re entry back home. How to implement all we learned together into our lives at home was an important discussion and I learned many things from these dear team members as we spent time in discussion and listening to each others learning experiences.
Thank you all…
…for every prayer, every ministry supply donation, every financial gift which helped make this mission a success. I really believe this was an important time of growth for both the youth in Hopkins and our team from Canada, including me.
James 1:2-4 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Serving Christ Together,
PS – About Hurricane Earl
I just can’t skip over this. We all arrived home safely 24 hours ahead of this storm. I never fly through Atlanta, and this time I did where also, a huge storm paralyzed planes 12 hours after I’d returned home. But also, I had offered my seat as a volunteer (which I often do to help gain a plane ticket for future mission trips) as our flight from Belize was 3 people over booked. By the time I reached the gate there was no need to give up my seat after all. I would have been trapped by the hurricane in Belize if I’d have overnighted as the Belize airport was closed noon the next day (and departing flights only go out in the afternoons from Belize).
Lastly, your prayers were effective, and I fully believe this. Evidence…45 minutes before Earl hit landfall covering the entire East side on the Belize coast, it went from a category 3 to 1 hurricane which caused minimal damage for most areas in Belize (including Hopkins and the coastal villages), considering what it could’ve brought. Many broken trees, power lines down, flooding in the villages, and much more flooding inland with no lives or homes lost in Belize. But, to the north, there were many mud slides in Mexico where over 50 people sadly lost their lives and many homes lost. The central and west edge of Belize did experience water flooding and more damage to businesses and homes. Let’s continue to pray for the recovery of these dear countries.
Please pray for Richard and Rosa Smith from My Refuge who HAVE suffered some loss. Two bedrooms on their home and the a large portion of the radio station roof were damaged but they are grateful their family and staff are safe and without injury.
Belize Team Update – Entry #1
Hello Friends and Family,
As you likely know, ACCI missionary, Kathy McDonald and I have the privilege of field facilitating a team the next two weeks from Ottawa Canada, Chapel Ridge Church.
This is a youth group team of 10 members. Pastor Luke H., Erika Z, and Erynn M. are leading the team and doing a GREAT job thoroughly preparing them from head to toe, inside and out 🙂 .
Please remember us all in your daily prayers as we serve together in Belize alongside Pastor Herdie and his youth leadership team July 22-Aug. 2.
I will send updates as time and the internet allows. Thank you again for being the family of God beside us as we serve in Hopkins. I will be leaving on Sunday July 17, to go ahead of the team and get everything in place for meals, housing and ministry objectives.
Here’s what we’ll be doing (likely to change day to day, as we go with the flow and flex with changes as they come our way):
Fri. July 22
- Team’s Travel Day, (team will overnight at My Refuge)
Sat. July 23 – A stop at Blue Hole and Art Museum in Dangriga for one hour learning tour about Garifuna Culture
- Arrive in Hopkins, get settled in house and head to the Youth Group meeting where the team will participate in leadership
Sun. July 24
- Team will participate in Sunday School classes
- Tour of Hopkins, getting acclimated with the village
- PM Church Service: Pastor Luke preaches, team shares in the service
Mon. July 25
- Painting/cleaning projects at church or a family in need in village
- prayer walk in afternoon/VBS prep /youth meeting
3 mornings of Summer School (VBS) and afternoons/evenings are youth meetings, village outreach visits in homes:
Tues.-Thurs., July 26-28
Fri. July 29
- Church service work a.m. or prayer walk in another part of the village
- Friday movie night youth outreach
Sat. July 30
- Day of “good- goodbyes”, spending time with new friends, saying final goodbyes, evening youth camp fire gathering and testimony time.
TEAM DEPARTS HOPKINS
Sun. July 31
- Attend Kathy’s church in morning, begin team debriefing at Banana Bank Lodge
Mon. Aug. 1
- Team day together, finishing team debriefing and re entry preparation
Tues. Aug. 2
- Travel day home