Hope for Belize | Belize

| August 08 to August 15, 2009

Local Host:
Staff: Tatianna Benson

Trip Journal Updates

The Team Has Arrived!
by Eric R. | August 8, 2009
We are happy to report that the team has arrived safe and sound!

After being picked up at the airport, the group was taken into Belize City for a great lunch at Pepper's Pizza. From there, it was straight into ministry as we went to spend some quality time with the children at Dorthy Menzies' Childrens' Home. It was a blessing to see the team pouring their hearts and energy into the children in so many ways, whether by giving piggy-back rides, decorating Burger King crowns, or simply having conversations. As this took place, part of the construction crew also went to go check out the sites in preparation for the work that will be taking place during the week.

After saying goodbye to the children, it was off to the beautiful Black Orchid Hotel to check in, unpack, and enjoy a bit of down time. For dinner, the team happily greeted and bid farewell to plates of Pirate Nachos and Burritos at Old Belize, an open air restaurant that sits right on the coast.

The team is super excited to be serving in Belize this week and is looking forward to Sunday Services with Pastor Henry in the community of Sandhill!

Sunday Worship in Sandhill
by Eric R. | August 9, 2009
It was an absolute blessing for the team to once again take part in the worship services at Sandhill Baptist Church. After a delightful breakfast of fry jacks, eggs, and bacon at the Black Orchid, we hopped on the bus and made the short drive out to the church.

Upon arrival at the church, the team was met with many warm hugs and a true spirit of reunion could be seen and felt. From there, the team split into groups to lead each of the four Sunday School classes: the adults, high school, middle school, and young children. During the worship service, we were blessed to hear testimonies from T.J., Sharon, Bob M., and Jeff, along with a sermon from Bob H.

Once the service was complete, we were treated to a traditional, home cooked Sunday afternoon meal of rice and beans, chicken, potato salad, fried plantain, and cake. Re-energized and ready to dive into more ministry, the team split into two groups: one heading back to Dorthy Menzies' Childrens' Home, the other heading to a construction site to begin work on installing plumbing.

After spending the afternoon working and playing with the children, we were able to eat another home cooked meal and attend Sunday Evening services. We were once again blessed to hear testimonies from Todd and Barry, along with several of the wonderful people who attend Sandhill Baptist, and a sermon delivered by Josh.

It's time to get ready for VBS in the morning!

Children's Sunday School Class
by Eric R. | August 10, 2009
Young children's Sunday School class.

Sunday Evening Sermon
by Eric R. | August 10, 2009
Josh delivering the sermon during the evening service.

by 80071017 | August 11, 2009
Yesterday was so incredible...I mean i wish there was a word to describe the day, but I do not think that they have created one yet to do it justice:)

In the morning we headed out for Vacation Bible School, just anticipating the moment when all the kids were going to run off the bus and into the doors to receive there little wristbands with their names on them for the day. Just a fantastic morning with so much energy and to see everyone giving so much...i mean screaming to the point that Josh...has now lost his voice...but his would be the first to go!

Also in the morning we had a crew over getting construction going at the one house that we had rebuilt. There were just really cranking it out putting in a septic tank and getting the windows installed. And not even breaking for lunch, continued straight into the afternoon. Bob and the crew for yesterday were incredible, all that they are giving, and to just see the family that is going to be living there. It is hard to not work that hard for them, they are so grateful, and the relationships that are starting to form with their family is so exciting!

In the afternoon we were getting ready for our moments of 4 ministries to be happening at one time:) We had a crew on the sports field, our ladies inside the church doing crafts, the construction crew still going strong AND our cooks starting in the kitchen (preparing for our Breaking Bread Ministry that night).

Sports ministry was fantastic with so many youth and children coming out...like 80 or more!!! CRAZY!!! Clifford, who we have been working with from years prior (youth pastor) was helping to lead that up. There was so much intentionality and desire to make this ministry something that they can continue after we leave. But to our surprise (or maybe not) there was in addition to who we thought would be coming out, and extra 50 kids or more. But we are flexible!!!!! It was crazy awesome and tiring:)

The ladies were inside making jewelry, having about 16 or so women from the community out and fellowship together. It was such a blessing to have this time to really get to know some of the ladies in the community and have those one on one conversations. We are really excited for today when many women and others will be coming back for card making!

And with construction still going strong, we also had Mr. Jeff, Ms. Michele and others in the kitchen starting the meal for later that night.

As we prepared cooking for the next 6 or so hours making brownies, garlic bread, lasagna and salad, we had the team split up onto their families to get ready to be dropped off. We were so exciting about going to people's homes that were hand selected from the church for us to serve a very fancy meal to. For some families this might be the first time they have eaten in a couple days, some families and parents who were not saved, another family had heath problems, and also single parent homes. However one common theme was the struggle to have an income because of the lack of work available in Belize.

We prayed in our family groups and as we were dropped off at the different homes, ministry started happening. Moms, and dads so excited to talk about their lives and being willing to open up...share their struggles. It was really heart breaking to hear and see different living situations and discover what they struggle with. It was a very humbling time. As families were spending time together, we had our deliver from each family get their meals together and we started delivering. Hearing that lasagna is a meal that no one has here because it is too expensive, it was very exciting! Families ate good last night!!!! It was such a feast!!!! Seriously, such a humbling experience and coming back together that night and sharing with each other our experiences, it is hard to say how was more blessed...the families or us.

EXCITED for today again for another amazing day!!

As you are praying, please pray for the families that we dined with last night, that we can continue to be bold in sharing and loving on them. Please pray for all the kids coming out today for VBS and that the relationships can continue to grow deeper and deeper.

by Tati | August 12, 2009
Workin with the kids....

More VBS!
by Tati | August 12, 2009
Makin crafts!

Fun and Laughs!
by Tati | August 12, 2009
Colorful Character!!!

Dinner for Many!
by Tati | August 12, 2009
Cook, put it together, deliver, fellowship--a blessing to many!

A Night of Fellowship!
by Tati | August 12, 2009
This truly was an incredible evening!

The Fellowship Continues!
by Tati | August 12, 2009
Enjoying the company...

For Such A Time As This...
by Eric R. | August 13, 2009
What an incredible two days! The team has been working tirelessly at all of their ministries, going from early in the morning until far into the evening hours. God is truly blessing the team with unending stamina and motivation. Here is a recap of what is going on in the ministries:

VBS in the mornings has been an absolutely wonderful time! The children have been learning about the strength God gave to David and the faith God gave to Daniel. Between the unexpected and perhaps unwanted appearance of the mysterious Dr. Bados, the group cheers, and the incredible song time it's hard to tell who is having more fun: the kids, or the team?

The afternoon ministries of crafts and sports have been fantastic! The craft time for the adult ladies has been growing every day. It has been great to see relationships between the ladies of Sandhill Baptist and Hope Community continue to develop while they make cards and paint hard backed canvas clocks. In the sports ministry, our Belizean friend Clifford has been teaching some amazing character lessons to the teens of Sandhill through the use of some creative sports games.

For the construction, progress is being made on both the newly built home and the restoration project. In the new home, much of the interior work is nearing completion, along with the plumbing, septic tank, and bunk beds. In the restoration project, the team has replaced the roof and many of the plywood panels on the walls.

Tuesday night the team took a break from their daily ministries to lead an evangelism service at Sandhill Baptist. I am happy to report that I, along with a few others, had to stand in the back as there were no empty seats in the building! We were blessed to hear several testimonies and songs from not only our group, but also from many of the Belizeans as well.

The final report I have is from the carnival tonight! The team invited the entire village of Sandhill out to the Community Center for an evening of games, hot dogs, s'mores, and music by The Heavenlies. Over 250 people gathered to take part in the festivities, eating nearly 400 hot dogs and completely wiping out all of the s'mores! The concert was a blast and overall it was a great evening for everyone, both young and old.

Unexpected Blessing!
by Eric R. | August 13, 2009
As you may know, The Heavenlies have been kind enough to bless Hope Community and Sandhill Baptist with a concert for the past several years. The Heavenlies do all that they do for the glory of Christ and not for themselves and desire to do more, but have been hindered because they desperately needed a new sound system. Their current system doesn't quite do the job, as it is outdated and in a state of great disrepair.

As a gesture of support and appreciation on the team's part, they felt led to meet the band's need! Earlier this afternoon, the team purchased two 18" subwoofers, two mid/high range speakers, an amplifier, a new mixing board, a set of microphones, and all the necessary cables! Needless to say, the band was absolutely blown away and it was a blessing for all those involved!

Off to Construction...
by Eric R. | August 13, 2009
One of the construction teams heading to work!

New hairstyle!
by Eric R. | August 13, 2009
Angela tries out a new hairstyle...

British Armed Forces?!
by Eric R. | August 13, 2009
Part of the team posing with the British Armed Forces, who were kind enough to allow the team to borrow tables and chairs for the carnival. They even loaded them up and hauled them to the Community Center... Awesome!

What An Amazing Week!
by Eric R. | August 14, 2009
The last day of ministry was wrapped up yesterday.. here's a quick recap!

The final day of VBS was great. More kids attended than any of the previous days (around 150!) and they heard about the greatest superhero of them all: Jesus. Everything was full of energy, from the songs to the games to the crafts, and both the team and the kids had an absolute blast!

The progress on the construction was outstanding! The team has been working on both projects all day long for most of the week and the results are phenomenal. The plumbing, painting, and septic tank at the new house are in the final stages of completion. At the renovation, several new windows and and a new door were installed, as well as some fresh paint on the exterior. Both of the families were surprised with the construction of bunk beds for the children. It was a joy to see the kids trying to decide if they wanted a top or a bottom bunk!

The crafts and games in the afternoon both had a greater number of folks attending than previous days. The teenagers at the games learned about why it is important to have Christlike character traits, while the ladies at crafts formed and strengthened relationships while decorating trinket boxes with paint, markers, and a cross-stitched lid.

There was also another unexpected blessing during the afternoon! The team was able to bless several of the families in the community with boxes of staple food items. Because many of these families have a great number of children and live from meal to meal, never sure where the next meal is coming from, it was a wonderful blessing for them to have some relief for several meals.

The day ended with a closing service at the church, where the team presented Pastor Henry and his congregation with many donations. These included sports equipment, VBS supplies, clothing, shoes, an all-in-one sound system, a guitar, and many other items. Some of the team members were worried afterwards because they gave almost all their clothes away and weren't sure what they would wear the rest of the trip!

All in all it was an incredible week. Even more incredible is that the team has barely wrapped up their ministries and they are already working on plans for next year! The livelihood of many families in Sandhill has been greatly improved and, most importantly, they understand that it is not for the glory of Sandhill Baptist or Hope Community Church, but for the glory of Christ!

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