Today was certainly the hardest day for all of us. Goodbyes are never fun, especially when you’re saying goodbye to ones you have grown so quickly to love and you may possibly never see them again.
Our day began differently today. We were taken to see the Mayan ruins, which was an incredible experience! I am personally terrified of heights, but climbing up the ruins was a once in a lifetime experience, so it had to be done! Our guide taught us about the ruins and gave us a history lesson on the ruins in Belize and how they uncovered. I believe it is very important to know about the history and importance of a place you travel to for mission work. The Mayan ruins are respected and the Belizians are greatly honored to have uncovered them. Seeing how amazing the ruins were and learning their history was such an amazing opportunity for us in Belize and we were all grateful we were able to experience a historical place such as the Mayan ruins.
When we arrived back the children were all impatiently awaiting our arrival for the starting of our last VBS games. We played with them and had them recite our Bible verse one last time. They all had it down! For our goodbye gift, we gave all of them a small little picture frame that said our verse:
“Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
After saying our goodbyes to the kids at VBS we had to prepare ourselves for the goodbye ceremony the church was putting on for us that night; this would be our FINAL goodbye to everyone.
Once we were at the church, the pastor had people in the town come up to the front, one by one, to say how thankful and appreciative they were of us. We all loved hearing how much of an impact God made on the town through us. After the people of the village were finished, the pastor then asked for us to come up and share anything on our hearts from the week. The church was filled with tears and happiness at the same time. The ceremony ended and we spent the next couple of hours speaking with everyone there. When we finally left the church, the children still waiting around for us followed us back to where we were staying. Telling them goodnight was so incredibly hard because we knew that was it. It was our final goodbye and we wouldn’t be seeing them after that. There were more tears and some of the longest hugs I’ve ever experienced.
I know for a lot of us, it was extremely hard to say goodbye to the children we became so close with. There were a few in particular that were attached to us every second of every day. From the second we woke up, to the second we went to sleep, they were with us. These children have unfortunate circumstances, regarding their parents. We don’t know the details, but the pastor told us that these children are raised by the community. Leaving them was so hard.
We will never forget the people of San Antonio, Belize and they will forever be in our prayers.
Today was such an amazing day, but our hearts were filled with sadness. Today was our last day working on the church bathroom and helping at the school.
The construction project has been going so well and they have made so much progress over such a short period of time. I am so impressed with all who helped with the bathroom. It is such a blessing to the church members, as well as to the people in San Antonio. How crazy is it to think that the only bathroom they had to use at the church was an outhouse? I know I take having access to a bathroom, no matter where I I am, for granted. I’m not personally helping build the bathroom, but coming back every day from the school and seeing how much progress has been made takes me back and I am in awe. And not only the progress for the bathroom itself, but seeing the relationships being made between our team members and the men from the church helping was so inspiring. The men appreciated the ones working with them and were so touched by how helpful our team members were to them. God has definitely been building relationships between these two different groups of people!
Those of us who have been helping in the school went this morning knowing it would be our last day. There were quite a few of children from the school who came to our afternoon VBS, but quite a few a didn’t. We knew that this would be our last day to see those who didn’t ever come to VBS, which made us emotional, to say the least. We went along with our day awaiting the minute we would have to say our goodbyes. It was heartbreaking for me knowing that I’ve bounded with these little ones and I won’t see them after this, but I pray that they could sense Christ’s love through us and that we left an impact on their lives. In my classroom, our teacher had all of the students write on a piece of paper, “I love you, Meaghan and Kahla” and they drew a picture along with it. Kahla and I will cherish these drawings forever and never forget their sweet little faces. The school day was coming to an end and the four teachers got together and decided to put on a little assembly for us. My class, the little babies, got up and sang some of their class songs and it was the cutest! After them, older individual students got up and sang or recited a poem. We were so appreciative and amazed at how comfortable the children with with not only each other, but us. The teachers then had us (from Judson) get up and sing a song and we recited our weekly memory verse with motions from VBS. We had the students who had been coming to VBS stand up and do it with us; the teachers loved it! The assembly ended, we squeezed the kids goodbye and they were off to their houses, though a lot stuck around to play games with each other, which I guess is a typical daily thing for them to do.
The teachers asked us to stick around for a little longer and brought out a massive cake as well as some sodas. Ms. Rafina, the lady who has been cooking for us all week was asked by the teachers to bake a cake for us. (Ms. Rafina is known in the town for her talented cooking/baking). The teachers wanted to show us their gratitude for our help throughout the week. We couldn’t explain to them how amazing and strong they are for doing what they are doing. God has called them to teach in extremely hard circumstances and they are following His calling every step of the way. They are truly an inspiring group of teachers.
VBS was, yet again, another hit! The children cannot wait for this part of the day and their eyes are filled with excitement when they enter the church to begin singing and hearing our Bible story for the day; of course they’re all itching to see what crafts and games we have planned for them! Seeing their faces light up when they are all together with a place to play is so awesome to see.
We are truly being blessed with new friends in Christ and we are so thankful for everyone we are coming in contact with. We couldn’t have asked for a better village of people to work with.
Blessings to all of you back home. We miss you and can’t wait to see your faces. 🙂
Sometimes we can forget how others around the world live. I am privileged to live with so much, but so many live with so little. The little village of San Antonio, Belize is poor and from the second I arrived there I was saddened by how little they really had. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw children running around without shoes on or some of the houses with floors of concrete or dirt and their walls caving in. There is hardly enough money made by the residents of this village to keep food on the table, shoes of their children’s feet, or clean water for their family, let alone access to the internet. Most of us were in tears leaving this village. We didn’t want to leave these sweet people and I know personally, I wished I could have given them more. Because of no internet in the village, I was so sad that I couldn’t post more for our readers, but I realized that God would provide a way for me to share our time in Belize with everyone when the time was right. It was unfortunate that I couldn’t share about the end of our week with you while we were in Belize, but because we didn’t have to take time out of our day to write on our blog, we had more time to spend with the children in the village, which they certainly appreciated. Now is the time to finish out our stories of the week so that you can be a part of our entire journey. If you would like to hear about the rest of our week, please, keep coming back to read more!
– Click on Give Now
– Put Belize under mission trip for the gift designation
THANK YOU. 🙂
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www.judsonu.edu/give into your browser
Today has been similar to yesterday. After breakfast, we split up into our groups again, going to the school and working on the bathroom for the church. We decided to keep the groups the same everyday because we didn’t want to to confuse the children at the school. They have gotten close with us so quickly and opened up to us while we are helping them, so we didn’t want to ruin our progress made.
The construction project has been coming along quickly and it looks great! The cinder block walls are almost complete and they haven’t finished working today. I am so proud of all who are working on the bathroom. They are standing in the hot sun all day, working hard, with no complaints at all. They are definitely showing the town Christ’s love through their hard labor.
[During our break (lunch time) we were given a treat…fresh coconut and coconut milk straight from the tree! It was tasty!!]
In school today, the children in my classroom were a little feisty, but it was still a great experience to be a part of helping them learn. I was helping one girl, Amberly, learn how to tell time. After a long while, she finally started understanding and I was filled with joy! I know the other girls who were working with the students individually had incredible break throughs as well. God is good!
We have VBS soon and I think we advertised it in the school today way more than yesterday, so I’m praying that even more children show up! I know God is working through our VBS activities and our animated Bible stories (read by Bonnie Bienert) to teach his children about his son. Today’s story is going to be the Salvation story with the theme of “in all your ways, acknowledge Him.” We have crafts and games set up, as well as more songs with motions, and of course, practicing our Bible verse for the week, Proverbs 3:5-6! I am so eager to get back to the village to greet all of them children and to tell you about how it goes on my next post!
On another note, a couple of our alumni, Chris and Micah have been gathering and fundraising money for the village of San Antonio. We found out that the pastor of the church we are working with has chosen four families within the village who are struggling the most and we are going to be donating all of the money raised to the chosen families. It is such a blessing to see God working so visibly! We will keep you updated as much as we can with the families!
I can’t explain to all of you how well this week has gone so far. God has been working in our hearts and helping us stay strong and healthy throughout the week. Without Him we could do nothing!
P.S. Check out our calendar page for our fundraiser coming up! Even though we are here in Belize, we still have a bit more to raise financially. Thank you to all who have already supported us, whether it be financially or by prayer or both! We are so grateful! We love you and miss you all! Hope you’re all enjoying the snow…I am burnt to a crisp. 😉
So I’ve decided it would be better to write up my blogs before we go into town so I know exactly what I’m going to say and this way I can be more descriptive for all who are reading! Unfortunately we don’t have any pictures for today, but I promise, we will have some the next time I post! 🙂
Today was a day of hard work and lending a helping hand to God’s children. After breakfast, we split up; half of us helped with a construction project and the other half went to the local school and acted as teachers’ aids and tutors.
The group who went and helped with the construction project were in the beating sun all day, but they did an amazing job and worked at a quick pace! The project for us this week is to help build a bathroom onto the side of the church we’re working with. This bathroom is not only going to be used for the church, but for the community as well. You see, in San Antonio, most of the families, including this church have outhouses for bathrooms. So this bathroom is not only for the church’s use, but for everyone. Today, to get the project started they had to move a ton of cinder blocks by hand, mix homemade concrete, and place the concrete in the blocked out section for the bathroom floor. Let’s just say that they are going to be quite sore tomorrow!
Those of us not involved with the bathroom project headed next door to the local school (a catholic school) to volunteer. There are four classrooms in the school, consisting of only one teacher in each, with intermingled grades – one with first and second grades, third and fourth in one, fifth and sixth in another and seventh and eight in the last one. I was personally sitting in the with first and second graders. Of course, they were all incredibly adorable! The teachers were amazing, but it has to be hard for them teaching so many kids, especially ones in two different grades, with two completely different learning paces. We’ve only helped for one day and we’re exhausted! It gave us joy watching the teachers give so much of their strength to their students. They have so little to work with, way too many students in one classroom, not enough staff, the list could go on and on of things they don’t have, yet all four teachers (one being the principal as well) have the sweetest, most patient, and loving attitudes I have ever witnessed in teachers. These teachers are incredible and I could see Christ’s love flowing from them the second I met them. These four teachers are a light to the students and we get to experience a week of their overflowing joy for God’s children alongside them.
After we were done with school and the project workers were done for the day, we began our daily VBS for the village children. The children seemed more than excited to be there and were slowly catching on to the motions of our weekly Bible verse. Today’s Bible story was “Joseph and his coat of colors.” We focused on “leaning not on our own understanding.” We made beaded bracelets with them and played a game called drip-dip-drop, which is similar to duck-duck-goose. Instead, the child on the outside has a cup of water and they walk around the circle sprinkling water on everyone’s head saying “drip” and when they want to chose someone to chase them around the circle they say “drop” and they pour the cup of water on that person’s head. I cannot tell you how involved the children were in this game! They loved it! And we loved it, considering it’s boiling hot here!
Once night hit we invited the town to the church for outdoor volleyball and fellowship. We played for quite a while and then Trevor gave his testimony. It was a touching experience to look around and see so many from the town listening to him and learning about how amazing God is through others.
It is so encouraging to see my team serving anyone and everyone possible in this small village. We have come together and we are bonding so quickly! God is certainly working through our team and I can’t stop thanking Him for giving me this opportunity. We are so blessed to have the time and the funds to help others. We need to always remember to lean on God for everything! He is the reason I am here. He is the reason your daughter/son, brother/sister, niece/nephew, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, cousin, etc., is here. And whatever happens in life, whether we are struggling back home or we see those struggling here in Belize, we need to always remember to lean on God, not ourselves!
“Trust in the Lord with your whole heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.”
It’s only day two and I think it’s safe to say we are IN LOVE with Belize! We’ve been busy since we arrived but wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t explain to you how sweet everyone is here. The people in San Antonio, the town we’re staying in, have nothing, and yet they are always smiling.
We’re staying in their community center, which gives us a simple reminder of what we all have back home and that it is a blessing. After we unpacked, we ventured off down to their local river where all of the town’s children gathered around us. After they served us dinner we had church service and they introduced us to everyone. We all got up individually and shared who we are and why we chose to come to Belize for a mission trip. They were all extremely welcoming!
We thought it was finally time for bed when our leader came in the center with a massive cake and we sang Happy Birthday to Kait! Surprise!
Today, we were able to explore for just awhile to go swimming in a rock quarry; that was an experience none of us had taken part in before!
Afterwards, we had VBS for the neighborhood kids. We had gone out this morning, house to house, to invite the children and let me tell you, there were a lot of little kids there for a town with only about 400. We played games, had a craft for them, shared the story of Noah, sang songs, and taught them our Bible verse, along with motions. It was a blast!
Tonight we have church and then we have youth and adult ministry, where we will gather with the town and just play games and share about our walks with Christ.
I wish I could share with more description, but unfortunately, we don’t have internet access. We have to thank our Thirst Missions leader, Amir, for driving us into a different town so we could get the internet.
We miss you all back home and can’t wait to share more with you! Either tomorrow or Tuesday we’ll come back to write more! Just know that we are loving it here and all feel so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to show love to God’s people. God has placed all of us here for a reason, and we all have a purpose for being on this team.
To all who are praying, please pray for restful nights, good health, the ability to show Christ’s love to all around us, growing closer with one another, as well as Christ, and pray for the people here in San Antonio, that their lives will be blessed.
[Photo credit to Kait Puffer – reminder: only iphone quality pictures at the moment ;)]
This is a small glimpse of what my team and I will be taking part in in Belize over spring break. I can’t wait to share our experiences with all of you this week and I am so excited to see what God has in store for us down there!
I hope you enjoy this video and get excited for my posts throughout the week!