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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

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