Saying goodbye to the kids was the hardest thing I have had to do in a long time. Wednesday was our final day to make sure our bags were packed, the kids were packed for a week away from home too, and everything was prepared for our trip out of the country for a week. Wednesday evening did not bring peaceful rest but rather a late dinner followed by a late night baking with my middle daughter before they went to bed. Carrot cake scones ftw and I was looking forward to having them for breakfast on the plane but sadly I forgot to take them with me! I tried to sleep but mostly tossed and turned for an hour before it was time to wake ( just before midnight) and prepare our things since the group was meeting at our home before heading to the airport. There were tears shed that night from some of our kids as well as from me but they were also excited, just as I was, for the opportunity to take part in this and looking forward to what work God might do in us and through us on this trip.
The drive in the middle of the night was great, no traffic and no problems. I haven’t flown commercially or really in any plane (other than around the neighborhood twice in a two seater Cessna) in almost 12 years. My plane phobia was a major deal that required lots of prayer and trusting in God and realizing who my Creator AND Sustainer is as well as my hearts desire to, above all, serve Him!
We were in Belize for 6 days with our 7th day being our travel home day. These next few posts are a sort of photo diary of our time there.
I am beyond grateful for being able to take part in this missions trip. I want to thank everyone who so kindly supported us by your prayers, encouragement, and also financial donations, as well as the donations of shoes, Bibles, and hygiene items that we distributed there. I look forward to where the Lord will lead our family and how the true Gospel will go forward in the years to come in Belize. I already miss it there!
If, like me, you aren’t one who frequents air travel then perhaps you’ll appreciate these photos as much as I do.
Sunrise in the air!
We touched down in Miami where we grabbed a quick breakfast in the airport and then caught our connecting flight into Belize.
We got everything through customs quickly by Gods grace and were able to get to the hotel. We met up with our driver, Robbie, for our time on the mainland who also was helping to coordinate our time there as well as David another companion helping us to navigate and coordinate. After a quick Mexican buffet lunch we headed off to Liberty Orphanage for out first ministry opportunity. You will notice the photos of the children’s faces have been blacked out, as we were asked to do for their safety. For more information about this ministry you can visit Liberty Children Belize website. You can also check out this YouTube video about the staff and the home.
They also run a daycare/ Montessori style preschool there as well.
The Director, Agatha, gave us the history and mission of the home. They currently have just over 40 children and they range in ages from young to 18. Through her time with Liberty she has helped to create two new transitioning homes. One for guys and one for ladies. These are for children that are aging out of Liberty to help them adjust. They are able to live in these homes for the time being while they adjust to finding a place to live as well as a job. In order to live here though they must continue to follow all the rules as well as contribute in some way, such as helping out with food cleanup or lawn care etc.
Liberty also gets medical/special needs children as well. Here is one girl that is confined to this bed or a chair where she is able to go outside as well. She is 16 and has cerebral palsy. Agatha tells us the children here treat each other like siblings. They help to care for one another and look out for each other. They are like one big family. They even call her Ma she says!
We got a tour of the dining building as well as some of the dorms, boys and girls. Every dorm has a list of rules hanging above the sink as well as a list of consequences should they not obey the rules.
After our tour we gathered with the children and sang a few songs and the teens led in a Bible lesson followed by a lesson activity where we provided some paper and coloring pencils for them! We also handed out shoes that were donated as well for the kids here.
One day , a week or so prior to our departure, my one daughter was feeling down and sad about us leaving. It was a great opportunity for me to talk about my love for Jesus and sharing him as well as his love with others in Belize. The more we talked the less there were tears and the more excited she was for our time there. She knew some of these children have come from traumatic backgrounds or didn’t have a mom or a dad to hug them and love on them. She decided that we should make bracelets for them. So over a few days we made these bracelets together. I wore one as well as both of my daughters while we were gone (mine is still on and has been for weeks now) and it was amazing to get to hand them out to the children here. Everyone wanted one even the boys. It was great to tell the story of making these just for them with my daughter. I showed her the photo of them all wearing it and told her how even the boys wanted one! A few days later she said to me, ” sometimes I just think about how they all wanted bracelets and that picture and I just feel so amazed“! In this photo you can also see a snack that we provided. The men were helping to prepare it while the teen girls led in the lesson and activity. As Robbie calls it ” the chips and dips, the kids love the chips and dips”.
I do not have photo evidence but there wee enough witnesses who can attest to the fact that the little 10 year old girl (in the pink shirt here beside my husband) showed him whats what on the basketball court by rocking it out and even dribbling the ball through his legs!
After a time of just being able to play and interact with the kids it was time for them to have dinner and we were off to our next ministry opportunity. We stopped at a small grocery store up the road for the team to grab a snack if they needed and then headed back to this little church. No steeple. No sign, just people coming together to learn about God and worship him.
Just a note… the bugs will get you. We used more bug spray then sunscreen on our trip and they still got us!
I was asked to share my testimony (which I thought would come at the end of the service) but after the singing our team was introduced and I was asked to come up and share my testimony! It was a great honor to be able to share what God has done and is doing in my life. At this point I was going on over 37 hours of no sleep, traveling to another country, a 2 hour time change and the man next to me , Miguel, was translating what I was saying into Spanish! I have never had someone translating while I was speaking and that alone is an experience in itself. I was so tired I asked my husband when I sat down if what I said was even coherent! In my mind I had ideas and things I wanted to share and ways to connect it all but at that stage of sleep deprivation I was just praying the Spirit would speak through me. Not having anything written out just my Bible in hand sharing the amazing transformation Christ has done in me.
Bill , who was with our missions team, was able to preach that night as well with Robbie translating. That was the end of our first day including our travels. By the time we got back to the hotel it was after midnight (our time) and still no dinner other than the grocery store snack… we all just crashed. An early morning awaited us the next day.
Soli Deo Gloria