Belize, Island of San Pedro 7/22/2011
Hey my name is Nicky Lee. I don’t technically go to the church, but I was part of the youth group since middle school and was one of its student leaders in high school. Anyways, that’s enough back ground info.
I woke up that morning late. The snorkeling group had already left and the remainder had already headed off to tour the island. This left me and my best friend David Ing with nothing to do. However, that is when we are at our best =).
We took a walk down the beach, headed for their central park. David brought along the guitar and we planned to just worship together. Along the way we advertised to families that we saw, that our team was hosting a block party that day at 4pm. Not many people knew what that was so we just told them we were having a bunch of arts and crafts and games. Why not get ahead of the game right?
Right when we got to the park God blessed us. As soon as David pulled out his guitar, two local brothers (Lewis and Ronan) came running towards us shouting “You are the guys from yesterday!” referring to the block party we threw the day before. Cuuuuuute I thought. As if things couldn’t get better, the kids brought along their friends and other kids joined us as well. So what did we do? We held a mini 2 man VBS right in the middle of central park.
We started first with songs, David playing guitar and me dancing like a buffoon to “This little light of mine”, “Every Move I make” and more. We then switched to improve drama, where David again played the guitar and did impromptu dialogue while I, guess what? Danced like a fool XD. It’s okay haha. I enjoy it and so do the kids =).
The last part warmed both of our hearts when they asked to see the Noah skit again. They even began retelling us the story, reciting key humor scenes as well as telling us the main message perfectly. This was the perfect start to a great day.
Unfortunately this is when things started to go sour ><. At the start of the block party everything was going well. Kids were having fun and I was hanging out with Lewis and Ronan again. This started getting sour when I was playing with Ronan on the jungle gym, both of us climbing and tangling ourselves in the bars of metal, when a random stranger struck up a conversation with me. Normally this would have been a good thing, but a few things made it difficult to put my whole into the conversation.
1. I was spread eagle in the middle of the jungle gym holding on for dear life
2. Ronan was climbing on my back at the same time
3. I was trying to keep said child from falling off my back
4. I was trying to keep me from falling
It didn’t help that the guy started talking about how we were spreading lies and stuff like that. God bless Valencia who saw my predicament and called Edwin over to help take over the conversation.
Alright here is the stupid part. Right before the jungle gym incident, it started to rain so I brought my bag inside a canopy where all the kids were. That was mistake one. Mistake two was that I asked no one to guard it. And Mistake three, was that I left my wallet in there. You can obviously see where this is going.
Now back to the present time where I just safely returned Ronan and myself to the ground and was about to reinsert myself into the conversation, when Nicole (the hotel owner’s daughter from the mainland that we befriended) asked for her water bottle which was guess where? Yeah, in my bag. And where was the bag when I said “Sure no problem?” Yeah, it was nowhere to be found. Yup… Big problem…
First thought was Crap I’m just an idiot. Luckily my second thought was a shred of hope when a few kids saw what happened and led me to an abandoned boat where I found my bag and wallet. Luckily, my id and insurance cards were untouched. Unlucky for me the people took almost 100$ US in cash aaaaand… my debit card. Palm Forehead* Palm Forehead*
The kids said they knew the kids who took my bag so a few of our guys (Matt Ing and Kevin Ko I believe) trailed them, while Jon Hsu, took me to the hotel to cancel my card. Meanwhile I am thinking. Oh crap, I’m the paralyzed man in the skit, what are they going to do? According to accounts from other team members, my fears were realized and the skit did not happen. Everything seemed to fall apart after that. Things got a lot more chaotic than the day before with very little direction and very rowdy kids. The sudden rain storm didn’t help either.
David had to sing song after song since both Matt and I were gone (Matt was Jesus in the skit), because there was no skit, and the rest of the program pretty much got trashed. Plus the team had sent many different search parties on my behalf <3, causing further disorganization and separation (distance-wise) within the group. So many potential hearts lost, all due to me leaving my bag somewhere easy to be snatched away.
However, Satan did not win this day. Despite all of disappointment, frustration, and messiness of the situation, God brought it all together in the end.
Let’s start with me. For one I got my debit card and some cash back =). The girl who took it, her name is Diana fessed up when Kevin asked her about it (her older brother saw her do it and showed Kevin and Matt where they were). Unfortunately, I didn’t get the rest of my cash back because her accomplices turned on her when she confessed and scattered. (See Matt Ing’s post for more details)
Another blessing was that I honestly felt no anger or frustration towards the children who stole from me. Rather, I was able to immediately forgive them. A lot of it was due to the fact that my team showed me so much love, by one holding the block party together when everything went south, and by sending so many different people to find out what happened to my money and to comfort me. The loving and unified atmosphere smothered me, and I could feel nothing but joy that the church had my back.
Diana’s Life was also touched by God. According to Matt, when he forgave her on my behalf (I didn’t have the chance to do it in person), it was apparent, that that was the first time she experienced true forgiveness. Eventually she even apologized. Matt also informed me that the three accomplices were hostile to her, and I immediately was struck with the urge to go over and protect her and tell her myself that she was forgiven. If Matt hadn’t forgiven her for, I would have went out that night and forgiven her myself. I was going to do it anyway, but after wise council from Uncle Craig to think it over, I felt God telling me “Trust me. I got this. Just pray.”
That night I got a team together and we prayed our hearts out for protection over Diana and for God to chase the hearts of the boys who got away. And you know what? God moved that night.
So in short here was our list of victories in no particular order:
1. Diana experienced true forgiveness
2. I experienced love
3. We ended the day still standing and Unified
4. The spirit was moving
5. I got the important stuff back
So yes things could have gone much smoother and much more edifying but you know what? It was a sign. A sign that Satan did not like what we were doing here in Belize. A sign that Satan wanted to divide us and conquer us. A sign that Satan wanted to break us. But, no. Got proved to be greater than that, and no matter how hard Satan tried that day to bring us down, we stood strong and hearts were touched that day. He showed us that midst the storm we could stand arms held high, rain and wind beating at our body and hearts and still sing “If our God is for us what could stand against?”
Yeah so thanks for tuning in and supporting us from afar. Knowing that we have people praying for us and truly caring about what happens out on the frontlines means so much to us. So thank you, and thank God for being God. =)
I wish you all the best!
With a grateful heart