Belize STM- Day 9 July 23, 2011
After our second night in San Pedro Island, we all woke up to get our own breakfast and explore the island a little more before leaving. Then we piled back into the boat which took us back to the humidity and mosquitoes of Belize City. And of course, our first stop was Brodie’s, where some bought drinks and some bought snacks. Upon arrival of our hotel back in the city, we washed up, settled back into our rooms, and ate a delicious lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Quickly after, our group divided. About seven members of our team headed back to the youth hostel to finish the set-up and painting of the computer lab. During that time, the other group set out for the Ladyville orphanage. At the orphanage, things were much different than they were last year. For one, this year we played and hung out with the kids in the school house. And most notably, there were a little over half the number of kids this year than there were last year. It started bitter sweet because most of the kids I had remembered from last year were no longer at the orphanage, which was sad because they weren’t there to hang out with but good because they had been adopted. Soon after, I recognized some of the girls from the year before and they remembered me! It was definitely encouraging to know that we made enough impact for them to remember us from last year. For most of the time, we had the chance to hang out and bond with the kids through books, crafts, and balloon animals.
The kids at the orphanage are really open and affectionate which makes it easier to get to know them and speak to them about the Gospel. While attempting to help make balloon animals, I personally was able to witness this. One of the kids I had remembered from last year’s visit came up to me as I was making a balloon “hat.” His name was Tyrell and he noticed my wristband, (which I had bought at a Christian store as a tool to share the Gospel) and it was something he wanted to have for his own. I asked him if he knew what the symbols meant and he answered no so I proceeded to share with him each meaning. The down arrow meant that God sent Jesus down to earth for a purpose. The cross showed how Jesus died for the sins of you and me to give us an opportunity to be saved. The tomb displayed that Jesus was buried. The up arrow signified Jesus’ resurrection and how He then ascended into Heaven. The last down arrow tells us that someday Jesus will return for all those who believe in Him and take them to Heaven with Him. And in order to be in Heaven with God, we have to trust in the Lord with all our heart. Once I was done explaining, I asked Tyrell if he could repeat the meanings back to me. After him sharing correctly each meaning back to me, he asked me a question. “How come there are bad people saying God will return soon?” (something along those lines). I answered him saying that the Bible tells us: only God knows when Jesus will return and that we can never know for sure—only God can. Then after chatting for a short time, I asked him simple questions. Do you believe Jesus died for your sins? Do you trust in Him? Have you asked him into your heart? “Yes, yes, yes.” I smiled, took off the wristband, and handed it to him. Then I prayed for Tyrell. I prayed that he would grow in his walk with God and that God will use him to further His kingdom. I prayed that Tyrell would know God is always there for him and loves him more than he can ever know. I prayed for joy in his life. After prayer, it was the cutest thing. Tyrell smiled big and said thank you. I told him to take good care of my wristband and that the next time I see him, I wanted to see the wristband on his arm. I also told him to use the wristband to share with others. A little later, Edwin told me Tyrell had done a good job—he had explained the whole wristband to Edwin. For me, that was a confirmation. God has big plans for Tyrell’s life, I know it.
Then after everyone having a good time of getting to know and connecting with the kids, we moved into a mini VBS where we sang songs, performed a skit, and played somewhat organized games. Outside, we ran around with the kids and just enjoyed spending time together. Soon it was time to go. We collected our things, our people, and said our goodbyes.
The group from the orphanage then headed for the youth hostel. We wanted to help finish up the computer lab and do some last bonding with the youth there. Today we had great opportunities to talk and really get to know the youth. For the past few days the youth hadn’t been around so we never really had the chance to really bond with them. But today was good, the guys and girls were there to hang out with.
I went to chill with the girls who were talking and playing some volleyball. We didn’t have that much time with them so Isabel and I planned on having some time to circle up and pray with them before we left. Before we knew it, the youth girls started to hug us and say goodbye. We were confused and wished to have more time. Then we asked if we could pray with and for them, and they accepted our offer. We all gathered together with the girls and circled up. I asked if anyone had any prayer requests and Liona, a girl who was in my small group last Sunday, asked if they could pray for US. She wanted to pray for OUR safe trip back home. Another one of the girls ended up praying for our safe travel and thanking God for our visit. Then I prayed for the girls there: for them to know God’s love, God’s presence in their lives, and God’s plan for each and every one of them. It was amazing to have the opportunity to come together in unity with all the girls and really pray for them. It’s one thing to talk and bond with the youth, but to have the chance to connect spiritually with the girls was unbeliezeable. It was such a blessing from God.
During our prayer circle, one of the youth girls and a couple from our team were talking to each other. They were all saddened by the fact we’re going home tomorrow and won’t have the chance to talk to each other anymore like they have this past week. Some tears were shed, but in the end just to have any time with them at all is a blessing. After our circle, I walked over to the other girls to check up on all of them. I prayed for comfort from God to be upon them. I also prayed that they would have joy in their lives and peace in their hearts. Today was definitely a great day of bonding among our team and with the people of Belize.
After getting back to the hotel, we ate our last dinner here which was quite delicious. At the beginning of our debrief meetings, we start with worship. It was an interesting experience helping lead worship in Belize. There was definitely a sense of pressure, but in the end, I’m glad I did it. It gave me the opportunity to use what God has given me in order to glorify His name.
In the words of Uncle Craig, “Nothing that has happened here was on accident.” Though there were bumps, bruises, and bites along the way, we were sent here with a purpose, not just accidently. God ordained us to come here for His glorification. All we can ask for is that God continually works in and through us.
• Sunday service at the Chinese church
• Smooth airport experience (being on time, security, customs, etc.)
• Safe travel back