Monday, July 26, 2010
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16 ESV
Thank You all for the support you have given us before, during, and after our trip. On behalf of the entire team I would like to say you are all awesome people. If you would like to hear more about our trip, then I would like to invite you to our sharing meeting that would be announced later.
• That we continue to pray for Belize so that they may know God
• Pray for the basketball court so that it may encourage teamwork among the youth hostel kids
• For the Chinese church so they would continue to grow and continue to love God
• For Stephanie (our chef) so her upcoming marriage would be a happy one.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
So today I woke up thirty minutes late for breakfast- as usual. After breakfast, the mission team drove to the orphanage for the second time this week. I didn’t really want to go since I saw myself as not being able to relate to kids well. I never knew what to say, how to act, or how to relate to them. After arriving, I went on to make a sophisticated balloon hat, retrieve two basketballs out of a tree, and wander around feeling hopeless. I ended up sitting on the playground praying desperately to God. I felt useless, asking for the reason I was on the mission trip if I was so incapable. I asked God to show me a sign: to send a child at the orphanage to where I was sitting. Soon after, Ellie and Jessica came over to me after playing on the swings. More followed until I had four kids sitting around me, marveling at my hat and pretending to shave my head. I still don’t really know how to interact with kids, but I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:10. Even though I am weak, God will use me to show the world his power.
After a peanut butter and jelly lunch, the team headed off to the youth hostel to celebrate the completion of the basketball court. Though the court was still quite dusty and slippery, it was quite an improvement from the youth hostel’s first court. It was a lot of fun playing basketball against the youth from the youth hostel. There’s nothing like playing a competitive game with people that you’ve invested time, sweat, and energy with on a project. It was awesome seeing more barriers break down and the smiles plastered on sweaty faces as the day came to an end.
On our way back from the youth hostel, the bus broke down about five minutes away from the hotel. Everyone grabbed their bags and began walking. Thankfully, the bus was repaired about ten minutes later. Praise the Lord!
Interesting story: Today as the team walked to the Best Western, we saw a crab walking across the road. It was quite a sight. The entire group watched in apprehension as three cars drove over it. Miraculously, the crab emerged, safe and alive as Edwin continued to usher the crab safely to the other side. An hour later, as we headed back to Siesta Inn, we saw the corpse of the crab, its bodily fluids splashed on the road. Its head lay a couple feet away. How sad. Anyways I have really enjoyed this mission trip. 29 still alive. 0 dead.
Today was a well-deserved day of rest for our bone-weary team. Most of the team spent the morning together on a snorkeling trip set up by Commissioned International. It was a good reminder that Belize is more than the prisons and orphanages that we’ve been visiting. It’s also home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world and, for a couple of hours, we got to see the beauty of God’s underwater creation.
This was my second time snorkeling the reef and each time I am overwhelmed by the diversity and beauty of life under the sea. We swam with sea turtles, giant black groupers, sting rays and schools of colorful fish. We went out in groups with a guide who took us above the coral reef and then to the drop off where groups of large fish and massive spotted eagle rays swam right by us. For me, I love floating above the reef and watching one small patch of coral. If I wait long enough in that one place and allow my eyes to adjust, more and more fish, large and small will appear. It’s as if I have a bird’s eye view of their life. And as I watch them, I just stand in awe of the power of our Creator God to design such a beautiful world.
After we toured the reef, the guides took us to a place called Shark Ray Alley. They threw a bunch of fish into the water and, within seconds, our boat was surrounded by dozens of sharks. Really cool! The guides kept telling us to jump in but only Edwin was willing to do it. Then the guide started throwing fish at Edwin and the sharks and other fish were all around him. When we all saw he was still alive, we jumped in after him.
Now we’re back to Belize City and ready for our last day of ministry. Tomorrow we’ll return to the orphanage that we visited last Wednesday. Then we’ll go for a final trip to the Youth Hostel to throw a party for the kids and celebrate the completion of the basketball court. It should be a fun and rewarding day.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
While I was painting an endless number of fingernails, I finally mustered up the courage to start asking the girls about God. To my surprise, most of them already knew about God and didn’t really mind talking about Him. I only encountered one little girl who didn’t have a relationship with God. Her name was Damaris. She listened intently as I shared the gospel with her. She felt that the only way to heaven was if she did good things and if she didn’t she would go to hell. She thought that Jesus would be waiting at the door to heaven and would tell her if she was good enough or bad. This didn’t really surprise me, and I explained that because of Jesus’s death, we can go to heaven just by receiving him as our lord and savior and our salvation isn’t dependent on ourselves. I struggled a little bit with the use of Christian jargon and tried to simplify the gospel. I wasn’t really sure if she understood anything that I said…but I knew that the Holy Spirit was working. So I asked her if she wanted to accept Christ and if she would repeat after me as I prayed. AND SHE SAID YES!! Woooow, mind blown! I never thought that just talking to someone for about 10 minutes about God actually worked! But with God, all things are possible! As I led her through prayer, I felt a lot of pressure to say the right thing. I remember when I first accepted Christ, my prayer was important to me and I didn’t want to mess it up for this little girl. While praying, another girl that I was talking to earlier interrupted and asked me for my email address. What did I do? I gave it to her. -_- I regret doing that and feel like I could have handled that situation a little better, but I praise God that he gave me the opportunity to talk with that girl.
After 2 hours at the block party, we went directly to dinner at Playa Chel . Surprisingly, the owner of that restaurant had heard about us building a basketball court at the youth hostel! News traveled about us from Belize City all the way to San Pedro! I guess we had more of an impact on Belize than we thought. After we finished dinner, we went to eat key lime pie for dessert (yum). Then we returned to the hotel and turned in early for the long day ahead of us.
(Sorry this was late, I was sick and wasn't able to post at all- Jon Hsu)
Hello faithful readers and welcome to the day 6 blog post! Even though all of us were still a little tired from finishing the basketball court yesterday, we were all really excited for today’s schedule. Our plan was to first put on a block party at Pickstock, a downtown slum in Belize in the morning and then do VBS for the kids at Liberty Orphanage.
Before we went to Pickstock, the team was warned about how dangerous and run-down the area was, but when we got there it didn’t seem too bad. We decided to run the block party at an apartment complex that David Craver, the missionary we partnered with, previously did ministry at. Immediately when we arrived all the kids came flooding out of the doorways and after 5 minutes, the whole block was covered with kids of all ages playing with us. We played basketball, soccer, Frisbee, and football with the boys, while the girls made crafts, blew bubbles, and got their nails and faces painted. It was such a beautiful sight seeing everyone having a blast with the kids and really bonding with them. Even from the first couple minutes of playing with the kids, it was obvious that they relished the attention and the chance to play with some new toys and friends. It was so encouraging to see each of our team members playing with a group of kids and just loving on them. Some of us also got the chance to pull some kids aside and have one-on-one conversations about the gospel and pray for them, but since many of them were very young we’re not sure how much they understood. For example, after sharing we would ask the kids to repeat or summarize what they just heard and sometimes they had a hard time doing so. Please pray that the seeds were planted today would bear fruit and that the kids would come to know Christ. We also had a water balloon fight, which lasted about 3 minutes as all the kids threw all their balloons at once. It was pretty awesome to see 30 kids throwing water balloons right and left at each other! I’ve never heard so much laughing and screaming in my life before!
We ended our time there by passing out gifts to each of the kids, which was the most chaotic experience ever! I was asked to hand out the gifts, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Once the kids caught on that I was passing out toys, all of them started surrounding me and begging for one. They were grabbing at the bag, tugging at my shirt, shouting in my face—basically doing anything to get my attention. These kids owned nothing and even a small toy was something to cherish. It was so humbling to see their intense desperation for just a simple toy that was worth no more than a few dollars. As I was thinking about this experience later that night, God revealed to me that for all these kids, their desperation for these toys reflected their spiritual condition as well: they were absolutely spiritually empty-handed, and needed God much more than they needed those toys. It was such a sad fact to realize, but at the same time that was the exact reason why we were there: to share with them that Christ had come to die to fill all their needs, from physical to spiritual.
After lunch we moved to the orphanage where we put on a short skit for the kids about the story of Noah and how it shows that following God’s plan is always the best—especially his plan of salvation. Once that was done, we made crafts with the kids and played sports with them as well for the rest of the afternoon. We also had a chance to share with many of the kids there about the gospel so please pray for those seeds that were planted as well. At the end we asked the orphanage director how we could pray for her and she said that things were very financially difficlut for them and that they had to cut back staff in order to make ends meet. Please pray that they would receive the funding they need so that they can love on these kids as they deserve.
So in summary here are our Prayer Requests:
1. Please God to water the gospel seeds that were planted today in the kids that heard the gospel. Please ask the Lord to open the hearts of these children that they may truly believe.
2. Please pray for the orphanage that they may receive the funding they need to run the place.
3. Since we are in the last half of our trip now, please pray that the lord would give us energy to finish the trip strong and continue to capitalize on opportunities to share with the Beliazians!
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and see you guys in a few days!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Praise God! After three labor-intensive days of working at the youth hostel, and with the help of the several youth hostel kids, we completed mixing, transporting, pouring and leveling the cement. What used to be a marshy, uneven, fire ant and mosquito filled field now has something that actually looks a basketball court the youth will be able to play on. God blessed us with an additional day to spread out this work, and to spend more time with the youth. First, I’ve noticed that our team is full of energy, willing to help, and lend a hand whenever needed. One example is when some members of the lunch crew were still helping with mixing cement and unable to start preparations (unloading the food and water and making sandwiches) others who were not on duty stepped in and took over that role to prepare lunch for the rest of the group. Also, when we were shoveling the gravel to make the cement, there were people either moving the gravel so it is closer and easier to add or ready to jump in so that we could take a break. The extra day was an added bonus because of the break and being able to spread out the work, and the opportunity to be able to spend more time on site with the kids. I’ve been reminded that it is not the PROJECT but the PEOPLE that are most important. Yes, we are there to build the court, and serve the youth in that regard. However, chiefly, we are also there to share God’s love and the gospel to those who have not heard and have not seen. Taking this to heart, I had been spending a lot of effort on my duties – construction, first aid, lunch preparations, loading and unloading, etc. Today, I wanted to spend more effort talking with some of the youth hostel kids. I’ve gotten to know a few of the kids by working side by side during the construction, and also by helping to bandage and tape up some cuts and scrapes. One of the youth asked me about arm band/bracelet I had attached on my bag that I brought on this trip, and asked if he could have it. While I did bring these as an opportunity to share, I did not want to just give them away without having to chance to share the gospel and get to know where they were spiritually. He was persistent by asking for the last two days and today I had a little more time to ask about if he had heard about the gospel and about Jesus and what that what meant. He said he was a Christian or that he believed in the Bible – that he had been to church when he was at home, and that he knew about Jesus, and read the Bible each night. But I wanted to get deeper – I wanted to hear the Gospel from his mouth. I asked if he had any questions about what he read when he read the Bible, and he said he didn’t. Then I asked what he believed would happen when he died – and he talked about heaven and hell. And when I asked about how you go to heaven, he talked about doing good and being good. Then I asked about Jesus, and he said that God sent Jesus to die for us. I wasn’t sure if he understood what it means that God sent Jesus to die for us. I wanted to share about how Jesus was the only way to heaven (John 14:6). I also wanted to clarify that it was not through works, but that Christ was enough – and only by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). When I asked if he had his Bible – he said he didn’t. It felt a bit incomplete, and I wanted to take the opportunity to pray but we had to go. We will return on Saturday to spend time playing with the youth on the court and I told him I will pray for him and see him then. I hope that we can spend that time to go through the Bible verses and pray so he can have assurance of salvation.
Please continue to pray for our safety – praise that we haven’t had any major injuries, but pray for quick healing of our sore muscles, cuts, bruises, and blisters.
Please pray for the youth hostel kids which we will not see for a couple days, and that when we see them again, we will have open opportunities to share the complete gospel and enjoy the fruits of our labor (playing basketball). Also please pray for the block party that we will have tomorrow, and the VBS we will be having at the orphanage.
Praise for blessings through the trip thus far – the beauty of His creation that we’ve seen (through a river tubing trip and the zoo) as well as the blessings of completing the court. (now we just have to wait for it to dry!)
Day Overview (The Boring Part)
- Delicious Breakfast
- Went back to Youth Hostel (Chinese Church youth joined us)
- Built basketball court
- Sleep (sort of)
Reflections (READ THIS PART :D )
I know. The day seems boring right? BUT IT’S NOT! There were a lot of cool new things today (by the Grace of God). And lucky you! You get to read about it :D
For starters, Today was the first day that the youth from the church joined us. This is especially awesome for me because I haven’t seen these guys since last year. It was both fun reuniting with some of them and sad because not all of them were still there.
That’s one of the depressing thing’s I’ve learned about Belize. A lot of the youth told me that they just want to get out.
Why? I think it’s because they feel trapped.
There are so few Chinese Youth in Belize. They live in the inner city so there’s always the possibility of crime. And one of the youth today told me that most of the time she just stays home where it’s safe.
Where does Jesus fit in all this? Well, Jesus is their ticket to true freedom. Jesus can wipe away their tears and return their wasted years. Jesus is the way for them to have a true and meaningful life even in the midst of bondage (koff Paul koff). But I’m not sure if they fully understand that yet. That’s where we come in.
As fellow church-born Asians, we get to talk with them and bond with them in ways that they may have never experienced before. And what better way to bond with them than perpetual hard labor!
That’s right. We got the Chinese youth to build the basketball court with us for the youth hostel. Personally, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to bond with the kids well, that the kids would just sit around and not work, and that the kids wouldn’t want to hang out with us anymore after working all day.
But God proved me wrong. We had a blast bonding with the kids on the bus ride over and they were actually quite willing to help out with the work. Especially considering that they are giving up their summer time to help us pour cement.
Frankly, I don’t really know what God has planned for the Chinese youth and us. I don’t know how much we will to connect with them or how much difference we will make in their lives. But I can tell you this:
In everything we do, they get to see how we act and respond. In the way we give our all for the Lord in construction work (and we really do give our all – the mission leader was impressed by our enthusiasm and lack of complaining). In the way that we talk with them and Love on them they can see the Love of Jesus through us.
And God must have something planned. Because later that evening we got a call from them asking if they could help us AGAIN with construction work TOMORROW. (What the heck? Adolescents actually OPTING for more work?)
Something must have really enticed them. And it’s not the construction work. Trust me.
Frankly I don’t know what it is that brought them back. Maybe it was our happy times on the bus rides over. Maybe we just keep them from being bored.
Either way. I know that God is using this to bless them. I know God is going to touch their hearts. I know that God is going to use this to show them sides of his beauty the world has never seen before.
And I tremble in anticipation to find out exactly what that is.
Stay tuned, folks.
David Ing, 7/19/10
Ernie went out together to visit the Cantonese speaking family that Henry made contact last year;
while Pastor Hsu, Pauline, and Michael visited the Mandarin speaking Chinese.
The Cantonese team visited 4 four families just minute away from our hotel. They were all small grocery shop owners. Our drivers is a devoted sister of the Chinese church and she knew all of these family and has been preaching the gospel to some of them. All of them are working long hours and cannot afford to close the shop to go to church on Sunday. One family has not shown much interest. Another shop owner said there is no time to go to church. As we asked more about his heavy burden and pressure in his life, he became more interested and open to hear about Jesus. We encourage him to try to ask Jesus to carry him when the burden is too heavy for him. We share with him that God love us and listen to our prayer, if we accept Jesus and pray in his name. Later we learned that he was robbed and shot a few months back and the bullet is still in his shoulder. Another shop owner remembered Henry from last year and enthusiastically welcome us. She accepted Christ but his husband has not and have no interest. Her 11 years old son is lovely, courteous and also helping to manage the store. Yet we later learn her husband has mistress. This lady is even willing to accept the mistress's child into the family and yet the
husband would not forego the extra-marital relationship. Another shop owner's son accepted Christ and yet his is not coming to church anymore. The family is troubled by bad gossip and the mother allowed us to pray for her worry. In the afternoon, we went to an older district to visit shop owners Henry met last year. These shops are tiny convenient store. The size of these shops is often 10-15 feet wide stocking with merchandize, while the family lives behind the store front. All the store blocked their front with iron bar and deal with the customer through small windows. The first shop owner we visited left his 15 years old son behind tending the shop with a hired
helper to visit relatives in America. The young boys is courteous and gentle. I saw loneliness, boredom and sadness as I talked to him. He is not open to talking since he is alone. All we can say to him is God love him. We later learn that he just lost his mother several months ago. Another shop owner we visited remember Henry from last year. She happily open up her iron gate to welcome us. She is very interested in knowing about Jesus and the church and talked to Henry for a long time. In the mean time, the sister driving us and I talked to her husband. We learnd that they just arrived 3 years ago from China with the husband's father. Three of them work from 6am to 9pm. They have a 2 years old and the wife is pregnant but they don't even know when the baby is due. The grand father also has to go out to work another job. The grand
father just have a bed to sleep in, surrounded by their merchandise. Their roof is leaking and the shop was flooded when heavy rain comes. I saw the weariness and sorrow in this mans face. He does not want to talk about Jesus, though he is open for his wife to learn. We prayed with his wife and asked God's mercy for this family. The last shop keeper we visited has been coming to church but struggled in how to deal with the traditions of worshiping ancester of her in-law back in China. We took time to encourage her to take one step at a time of her faith and put all her doubt and weakness into prayer. My heart ached as I soaked in the struggle of these families . I felt so limited in what we can offer to them. There is so much barrier for them to go to church and yet they need so much of the deliverance from Jesus. Our team did empower them with the promise that God care for the weak and down-trotted and He listen to prayer from those who cry out to God. Moreover, Henry and Ernie was able to help two children of the shop owners we visited in the morning to accept Christ as their Lord. In our evening bible study, we heard sharing from a sister who lost her husband a few years ago. While trying to raise her two son, she suffered from several bad surgeries herself in Belize and need to seek medical treatment outside of the country. She was down and despair but persevered by faith that God will take care of her and her sons. Her son accepted Christ. She is devoted in sharing Jesus with others and bring people to church. She is an inspiration to several of us and it is a blessing to be her co-worker.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Today the Lord gave Ellie and I an awesome opportunity to witness for Him. When we arrived at the youth hostel, I was torn between watching Ethan chasing pigs around and spending time with the youth girls. I knew I couldn’t do both so I invited Ethan to join me and the girl’s for the afternoon. Of course his answer was no, so I left him with Ed doing construction work. When I got back to the girl’s ring, I saw Ellie befriended two girls already. I joined her and the girls and got to know this girl named Crystal. She was very open and shared a lot with us. Ellie initiated the spiritual conversation with them. She asked them if they believe in God. When they asked us why we’re here, she plainly told them that we’re here to tell them about Jesus. Later when Ellie left to visit the barns, I spoke with Crystal more. She told me she “tried” to believe in Jesus, but felt she was never good enough. So I tried to reaffirm her faith but as I was talking to her more, I learned that she had recently attempted suicide and that her brother, whom she had a close relationship with, died from a kayak accident. Her life is very troubled. I asked her if she would like to rededicate her life to Christ and she said “yes.” So, I prayed with her and reassured her that Jesus is with her from this day forward, and that she does not have to be afraid and lose hope because Jesus will never leave her or forsake her. She seemed more at peace after we prayed and asked which book of the bible is good for her to read. I just praised God for the unique opportunity to witness to Crystal. It is his hand at work. I never imagined that Ellie would be able to talk to any of the youth here in such a positive way.
Today, we faced a different challenge: lack of electricity. We are aware of the lack of electricity on Sunday but did not have enough information about the exact time. We (Pastor Hsu, Henry Lo and myself) discovered there is no power as of 4:30AM. We did not have air conditioning. The front desk informed us that the power is out in the entire Belize City and scheduled to come back around noon.
Due to the outage, we cannot use the computer and cannot use the PowerPoint for song leading. Additionally, the church could not print today's program. Luckily, Sister Pauline made 60 copies of the songs that we were going to use for this week's bible study. We used that as our singspiration for the Sunday Service. Thank you, Pastor Patrick for your faithfulness and foresightedness!
After the service, we enjoyed the Love Feast prepared by the Chinese church for the entire team. When the Basketball Court Team is about to leave for the Youth Hostel we got hit by 30 minutes of rainstorm. The rainstorm caused a minor flood in some parts of the city.
After lunch, we had a meeting with Pastor Liu on their needs and how our church can assist them. They really need Cantonese speaking persons to reach out to the Cantonese community. Additionally, they need help with the youth ministry due to the family relations breakdown, they are occupied with entertainment media and helping out parents' stores. Pastor Hsu, Ernie, Henry and Pastor Liu were brainstorming on the future directions of our assistance.
This year we experienced more rain then last year. Keep your prayers on our safety and our family visits for the next 3 days.
1. Chinese Ministry Visitations/ Outreach event, starting tomorrow.
2. Crystal and her new commitment.
3. Weather will be better for tomorrow
4. So we can finish the basketball court tomorrow.
5. Joyce and Steve's safety on flight.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Today we went to visit the youth hostel. Luckily, weather was endurable when we arrived despite the pouring rain on the bus ride over. At first, it was somewhat awkward between our Belize team and the youth there; the kids kept to themselves, lounging on the porch or playing basketball while we stood quietly by the bus waiting for David, our missionary leader, to arrive. During our wait, “we experienced one of the great ten plagues,” comments Priscilla Shen, as we personally met and embraced one of Belize’s greatest creatures, the locust.
We started off a bit slow as our first work period held little progress as the dimensions for the basketball court were laid out and little grass was tilled. We stopped for a water break and went to meet and greet all the youth at the hostel. The girls came out slowly and shyly, timid at first but after introducing ourselves, they opened up a bit more telling us about where they were from or laughing at my lack of Spanish skills. They continued to share about how long they had been there and I was surprised to find out one girl had only arrived three days ago.
As we slowly trickled back to the field, I think, after watching us work, the guys from the hostel pitied our progress and briskly came to assist us- our star player named Victor, or more commonly known as Mictor aka “the BEAST”. As the day progressed, more of the guys came to help out or watch as their work skills doubled the pace of many of us.
After a few hours of much sweat, toil, and fire ant bites, we stopped for lunch after leveling and clearing out much of the wild untamed grass. Walking into the dining hall, we watched as the guys finished eating and were ordered out- standing up in somewhat unison, folding their arms, and reciting the phrase that I later discovered was written above the door:
“Stand tall, fold arms
Girls, boys proceed out
to the ablution block. Thanks mom.
The discipline and respect between their warden and themselves was an interesting experience to witness. Up until that point, it hadn’t entirely struck me that the youth hostel was supposed to be a disciplinary area for kids who had committed minor crimes.
God’s protection over us was evident as the day came to an end as we left the kids having made new friendships, suffered from little injuries, and kept well hydrated- although swamped in mud. Coming back to the hotel, we all rushed to shower before meeting for a dinner of spaghetti and worship.
29 alive, 0 lost.
Michelle Lo, Priscilla Shen, and Isaac Auyeng
Thanks Lily Hao for the letter from Home.
1. Finish basketball court
2. Stay Hyrdated
3. Chinese Church Service, when Henry will talk, Roger and P. Hsu will lead worship
4. Health of Team
5. Energy for rest of week after long hours of construction
6. Bonding with youth hostel kids and team.