Search This Blog

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Belize Summer 2012: Day Nine (07/21/12)

Today counts as the first relaxing day of our trip.  After arriving late last night at the Five Sisters Resort last night, we explored around the vast area.  Taking pictures of exotic plants to going down to the waterfalls for a swim, there was very little stress going in to today.  

In the morning, a few of us woke up to the early sounds of birds, monkeys, and any other forest animal you can think of.  I initially thought that since the rooms were nicely furnished with actual beds, not just airbeds, I could be able to sleep until 9 AM.  Turns out, nothing ever sleeps in nature.  Breakfast consisted of cereal and bagels.  

Once breakfast ended, all of us proceeded to walk down the resort to go to the Five Sisters Falls.  The water was delightfully cool, and washed all of our worries away for the time being.  Alas, the day can’t go perfect without any twist.  Patti slipped off the rocks near the waterfall and ended landing painfully on a rock at the bottom.  Patti was shaken up, but fortunately seemed fine later on.  On the ride back to the Chinese Church at Belize, Pastor Brian got carsick.  Luckily, with the grace of God, P. Brian came out of the bus alive and unscathed.  

As a first time missionary, there’s a lot to learn from my first trip to Belize.   Belize still needs lot of work.  Leaving the resort, you can definitely tell the big gap between the impoverished and the wealthy.  Like the ordeal with the airport at Houston, at the resort, anything can happen.  Even though P. Brian was our leader heading in to Belize, everyone including him could’ve went through something horrible.    One thing I have learned for sure:  The power of prayer can always help.
Jeremy Folk

Belize Summer 2012: Day Eight (07/19/12)

Our God is an awesome God!  Can’t believe this is the last day of VBS and God has provided everything we needed.  I was so worry prior to coming to Belize because my doctor told me that I might have a possible hernia and that it may not be wise to travel, but praise God I’m still fine and made it through VBS.  We had good attendance, around 35+ kids every day and many kids raised their hands to accept and want to know more about Christ.  I was amazed to see God’s hand working throughout this week.  We had a lot of volunteers and many of the parents provided lunch for us.   After VBS, we had hot dog on the bus and drove out to the Mayan Ruins.  The place was amazing.  Few of us climbed up to the top.   After that we had a 2+ hours bumpy bus ride to the Five Sister’s resort.  We got there very late and had peanut butter jelly sandwich for dinner.  We were surprised how nice the resort was and we all had a very good night’s rest.

-Nancy Wong

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Belize Summer 2012: Day Seven (07/19/12)

Can’t believe today is the last day we’re going to the Youth Hostel.  With the rain going on and off I’m not sure how the cement pouring will go if it’s really wet. We’ve been praying for Frida, Alexander and Herman who have been helping a lot with the building work each day and are always friendly. We’ve been praying for a chance to confirm their belief in Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation as well as praying for any current concerns or problems they have.  I have personally been praying for shy Erline and outgoing Shanette who I talked with a lot last Sunday but have never joined in the work of building the shade area or the footbridge.  I see them standing in the doorway of their dorm or hanging around near the kitchen. I wave and they wave back and smile. But never get any farther than that. I feel  frustrated …to think we will have spent 4 days at the Youth Hostel and still have no chance to share the gospel with them. Did we spend too much time building and working amongst ourselves? How much good will the shade cover and footbridge do anyway?…I think to myself…when more than half the kids will be gone in less than a year anyway…released to their parents care or having completed their assigned term.  As we finish our 4th day of VBS, I thank God once again for the Belize Chinese Christian Church youth volunteers and they grace they show us in helping us so constantly with various parts of VBS: lesson/game/craft prep,  group discipline. They’ve worked tirelessly to become an integral part of our team whether it’s making sandwiches, moving the water jugs and sharing our very basic lodgings. I wonder if we could ever achieve that kind of unity in Christ with any youth from the hostel. We arrive at the youth hostel before I arrive at any conclusion. There is a STM team from Texas staying at the same base as us playing volleyball and chatting with the youth. I wonder idly what the Belize youth think of them and their work compared to our work with them. A part of me thinks…maybe this is the kind of thing we should have done to build more relationships with the youth. Then I realize that for the 8 of us 30+ year old people on the team would not be able to show a lot of genuine enthusiasm for playing volleyball in a thunderstorm or sliding around in the mud. I’m not that much of a random hugger or squealer either….and I wonder how many of my peers are.  But we, whose distant ancestors built the Western Pacific Railway and the Great Wall of China…cheerfully work non-stop in the muddy grass to complete the roof and the concrete slab of the shaded area. Whatever our age, gender, citizenship or skill level, we really put our shoulders to the work. Nancy grabs one of the girls to chat with her in the bus. Then Ed speaks to Hector about trusting in God and John and I get a chance to speak to both Herman and Alexander about their lives, faith in God as we fill the buckets of water needed to mix the cement. It turns out Alexander is a Christian who has been sent here because he refuses to go to school…when asked why…he tells us he gets beat up regularly by bigger boys in the school. We promise to pray for his release and a new school to attend. Herman says he believes in God...but doesn’t say much about salvation or Christ.  We encourage both of them to seek wisdom and protection from God and ask God to direct their future. They nod in agreement and we continue to work. Sooner than we expect we have finished the shade cover and congratulate each other and praise God. Other kids who had not joined in earlier, poke their heads out of various buildings or pause their impromptu soccer practice to check out our work. I guess Paul was right, it doesn’t matter which team or which method makes more of an impact with the youth…it’s to preach the gospel of Christ. 
-Patti Lowe

Friday, July 20, 2012

Belize Summer 2012: Day Six (07/18/12)

            We had another successful day of ministry today. Ernest and Jon continued their work with the local Chinese storeowners while the rest of the team took on day 3 of VBS. The theme of the day was, “No matter what people do, trust God.” which is something I feel applies to both our lives in the states as well as Belize. The kids bonded with us well and grew hungrier and hungrier for God. After the tiring day of VBS ended, we had a very relaxing time both zip-lining and cave tubing. Our team then took a short trip to Mr. & Mrs. Kuan’s fruit farm where we enjoyed a great barbeque dinner (or “burgaaaa” as they would say here in Belize) and also tours around their massive 1,273 acre farm. We sat in the back of a pick-up truck observing all of the various tropical fruit trees on the farm such as lychees, mangosteens, and starfruit. It was undoubtedly a once in a lifetime opportunity. We returned to the mission base both grateful and content.
Keeping it real,
Jimmy Wong

Prayer requests for tomorrow: (Already past though)
·         Safety and Protection
·         Kids to remain responsive and  have a heart for Jesus
·         Strength as we complete our last day of construction at the youth hostel tomorrow

Belize Summer 2012: Day Six (07/18/12) Chinese Ministry

Will our life be different if everyday, we pray to our holy father, and Our holy father answers it immediately? 

The fourth day starts at Belize hospital. Our brother, Richard, in BCCC has a kidney stone, and is at hospital for X-Ray. John and I go there to pray for him. After two hours , he is diagnosed with no kidney stone. Richard
has been drinking lime juice crazily in the past several days. Thank God that his  kidney stone has gone out of his body after massive lime.

Rose continues taking us to three more stores. The first store is not open. The  owner of the second store, B&H Laing, refuses to talk to us. And the third store owner, Ah Yu, just politely chats with us. We leave a DVD and booklet to her. After praying to her family, we headed back to local church.

While John and I think our day of Chinese Mission is over, suddenly Ching volunteers to take us to Miss Cheung. Miss Cheung feels at lost and confused in her life. Her relationship to her husband is like the Samaritan woman in John 4:4-30. Ching applies quite a few of good Bible versus to help her.  After staying in her shop for 1 hour, we know she does not fully understand Gospel. Not until she clearly understands the meaning of Gospel, we don't want to lead her to Christ immediately. We say bye to her after giving a prayer to her health and peace.

Ernie Tam

Belize Summer 2012: Day Five (07/17/12) Chinese Ministry

Our third day starts with a little surprise. Once we arrive BCCC and settle down, we see Ross' white 4 by 4 Toyota coming. We were told earlier that Ross is taking John and me to visit 4 families. I am nervous and excited. I have never felt comfortable on preaching our gospel to strangers. However, deep down in my heart, I want to do something more for my God.

At the first shop, I take the first chance to tell the gospel to Mrs Li. The gospel goes out and disappears silently. My heart also sinks in dark silently. After I recovered a little bit, I go get the gospel gift from my back pack and give them to her. Then she noticed that our religion is the one mentioned in Hong Kong movies. John follows through by explaining the meaning of Jesus died in the cross for us. What an experience telling gospel to a first listener. May our God continue working in her heart!

Our second shop owner is a believer who is lacking of faith to get baptized. After a long chat and a prayer, she leads us to the owner of a bakery store. It is also the first time for Kuen to hear Gospel. So John and I continue planting Jesus seed in their oheart.

The last family is the most challenging one. He is Mr Chan and he is a hair stylist. He came from Canton which has a similar culture of Hong Kong. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I am familiar with the classic Chinese: work hard, learn fast, be creative,  make more money and be a good person. He believes himself only. How can this kind of person accept Jesus?

Does our Belize trip bear fruit? Our God is a never failing God. HE blesses the future of Belize. These 4 families allow our visit because their kids tell their parents they love our VBS programs. Thanks God to encourage us on the work of the future of  Belize.

-Ernest Tam

Belize Summer 2012: Day Four (07/16/12) Chinese Ministry

Pastor Liu bring me and Earnest to visit people.
The first one is Mr. Chang and Mrs. Li (Husband and wife) who open a small store in down town area.
They sell drinks and other staff. They came from Guangzhou.  Their  business is OK. Their kids went to our VBS. They interested in listen to God but busy with struggle with run their business. We pray with him.

The second family we visited is Victor Guang’s mother who came in Belize in 1949. She will join our Sunday service under the help of her son’s wife. We pray together with her and her family before we leave.
 The third one is Mr. Lo who came from Guangzhou. His two kids is in our VBS program. He interested in God word. His wife is Christian but only speak Spanish and English.  Mr. Lo is a very smart business man.
He run two Fry chicken stores and He will open a supermarket where just the neighbor of Mr. Chang. We pray together before we leave.

-Mr. Jon Zhang

Belize Summer 2012: Day Three (07/15/12) Chinese Ministry

The time finally comes. It is the time for John and me to work with the local church, BCCC, to visit the shop owners. We want to spread God's gospel and strengthen their relationship with God.

John has absolutely no experience. I was with Henry two year ago, but never thought I need to play a big part. Pastor Brian is so nice that he expects us to just tell gospel, nothing fancy. It is not about how many people we bring to Christ. The main goal is building up my relationship with God.

The Sunday schedule seems to be up in the air at the beginning. The schedule for the team is to attend Sunday service at Youth hostel. With some last minute phone calls, Marinda can pick us up at Everyday grocery. At the same time, the store owner of Everyday grocery is our first brother to tell Gospel. He doesn't have negative attitude of us. However, his excuse is too busy to attend Sunday service. Isn't it a familiar excuse? Did I have the same excuse before start understanding our Jesus Christ?

Then, we attend the normal BCCC Sunday service, and get to know the local church members. One of the church members is Taiwan ambassador who is very kind and nice. He stays behind for lunch, and talks to every one.

Our day ends when the team comes to BCCC setting up VBS programs. Thank God giving me this experience. May God bless our work at Belize!

Ernie Tam

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Belize Summer 2012: Day Five (07/17/12)

Today was our second full day of ministry in Belize.  We spent the morning at BCCC for VBS, and the afternoon at the Youth Hostel for the construction of our thatch hut. 

The overall consensus for the team was that our second day of VBS went much smoother than our first.  Steve and I were leaders for the ‘Up and Away, Sing and Play’ and the ‘Fly Away Finale’ sessions of our ‘Fly’ VBS program – we were essentially a combination of emcees and worship leaders for the beginning and ending worship sessions of our VBS schedule.  As an introverted and not-very-outgoing person, this role was not comfortable for me.  However, I could really see God working and making it easier to emcee and lead, by exciting the kids and letting their hearts be ready for singing and worshiping Him during our VBS worship sessions.  The kids were exceptionally excited to sing and dance when we were leading our camp theme song – ‘Fly’.

The thatch hut construction also went on quite smoothly.  We spent the afternoon working with a number of youth hostel kids to level the pillars/poles of the thatch hut, and flatten the ground to prepare for creating a concrete foundation.  While we had a little bit of technical difficulties, we were able to complete our goal for the day – pouring concrete to fix the pillars of the thatch hut in place, and preparing a base with which we could use for pouring concrete flooring.  We managed to finish just before a storm hit.  Praise God.

The main story for me today was not centered around either of these two events today, however.  My thoughts and prayers were mostly centered around a boy who joined our VBS program today, one day late.  The boy’s name was Derrick.  If you read my Belize blog post from last year, you would find the name familiar because I blogged about the same boy last year.  I met him for the first time during last year’s short VBS program, and my interactions with him were rather short and uneventful because he was a pretty quiet boy (he’s still pretty quiet).  What I remember about him last year was that he was always asking me for things – candy, money, and any type of memento that I could give him.  When I interacted with him today, there was little that was different.  He acknowledged me today because he remembered me, and during the middle of the day, he sat next to me and asked me what I was going to get him because his birthday just passed.  He suggested that I buy him a Gameboy, which I politely declined.  He then decided that he would settle for a remote-controlled boat, which I also declined.  I tried to tell him that neither of those things would be enough for him.  I wanted to let him know that having material possessions wouldn’t ever be enough.  I wasn’t able to convey that message very strongly though… and even if I could, I doubt he would understand.  Maybe it would be because he lives in an orphanage with his 2 younger brothers very close to BCCC.  Maybe it would be because he’s just 13 years old – what 13 year-old doesn’t want new toys?  Maybe it would be because he’s never grown up with much, and he’s had to share everything he’s ever had.  I’m still going to look out for him during the next few days of VBS and I’m going to try to talk to him again, hoping I can convey to him the message that only God will be enough for him.  I don’t know what part I’ll play in his story (if any at all), but I’m praying that God will continue to violently pursue him.  He’s a frequent participant of VBS programs at BCCC, and I’m praying that one of these times, God will reach out and pierce Derrick’s heart with truths that he can never let go.  And I’m praying that one of these days, Derrick would be able to understand that he doesn’t have to go to others to find joys in material possessions.  Rather, that he would understand that he can go to God at any time and find living water that forever quenches his thirst.

-Matt Chang

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Belize Summer 2012: Day Four (07/16/12)

After a nice, but short night’s rest, all of us woke up at about 7 a.m., ready for a full day. We had breakfast and our daily devotions, and then loaded the bus with the water bins and lunch. Breakfast was beans and eggs. Last preparations for the day included applying bug repellant and sunscreen. All of us had matching blue shirts for VBS, as well as a change of clothes for the afternoon construction project. Then, we all boarded the bus.
The bus ride to BCCC took about half an hour. Ground transportation in Belize is extremely speedy compared to back in the States, as a trip of the same distance in California would probably take one hour or more. We expected to get there five to ten minutes late, but instead arrived fifteen minutes early at 8:45 a.m. We were all nervous for the first day of VBS.
VBS started out with the crew leaders meeting their groups and bringing them upstairs for worship and singing, which were led by Steve and Matt. The main songs had hand motions, and the four crew leaders were called to the front to demonstrate these. Unfortunately, we were extremely unprepared and didn’t know any of them, but we managed to put it together on the spot. It was a fun experience because we could act like children for a few minutes, pretending we were airplanes.
The kids I was in charge of were the oldest there, ranging from age 11 to 12. Our first activity was watching the movie, of which was followed by a discussion. I had talked to a few of them casually, introducing myself and giving high-fives, but this discussion was my first moderated conversation with these kids, so I was nervous. Halfway through, I ran out of things to say and had to read from Uncle Ed’s script.
The different VBS groups rotated stations, which included the games, crafts, movie, and bible story. During our game time, we worked together as a team to use a parachute to score a beach ball into a hula hoop. The daily craft was covering a roll of candy so that it looked like a space ship. The video and Bible story were the first in a series teaching the theme message of trusting in God.
The moment that made my day was toward the end of today’s VBS, before we sang the closing song with all of the other groups. I was trying my best to fit in with the kids and be funny, but one girl told me, “You’re not funny.” I became self-conscious, but I was laughing more.
After VBS and lunch, we drove over to the youth hostel, where we began construction of a cement bridge and a shady hut for the youth there. Both were built for their safety. The weather was not as hot as I had pictured before the trip; the sun only came out two times, but otherwise it was hidden by the clouds. There was also a nice breeze, so the work was not as miserable.
We came back to the mission base, where most of us stayed for dinner, but a few went to the river and swam. After dinner, we had a break until 7:30, where we had debriefing and sharing time.   

-Justin Folk

Belize Summer 2012: Day Three (07/15/12)

Our day started with a VERY big surprise.  After the delay in Houston we thought our surprises were over, at least for a while.  But we found out this morning that WE were in charge of the Church service at the Youth Hostel that we thought we were just attending.  YiKES!!!  It put us all in scramble mode.  Praise God we rallied the troops and it all came together.  Craig and one of the Belizian youth started off with some ice-breakers.  Breaking down barriers was really important with the Youth Hostel kids.  Steve Wong then lead us in a time of singing and the Hostel kids joined in with gusto.  Pastor Brian gave a short sermon entitled “Put Your Confidence in God.” Then we split up into small groups to talk about the message.  The interaction has already served to open doors.  Nancy Wong got to share the gospel and many youth remembered us from previous years.  God was certainly with us. 
After lunch we returned to Ladyville Orphanage to play with the children.  Some of us played games, colored books, painted nails or faces.  Again we were remembered from previous years and those kids were pleased to see us again.  We not only got to play with some of the kids but also pray for some too.
Then we returned to the Belizian Chinese Church to prepare for VBS the following day.  Preparations went smoothly and then we returned to the Mission Base (DCI).  After a delicious meal of Belizian style Chicken Spagetti  and salad, we had our team meeting.  David Craver gave us an introduction and orientation to his ministry and life.  His story is amazing and inspiring.  Finally we all retired to our rooms to get a good night’s rest before a very busy Monday.  Pray that we can sustain energy and positive attitudes for the duration of the trip.  Thanks for your prayers.

-Craig Ing