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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer 2014 7/19/14 Day Nine: Priscilla Chan

Hi Friends!

Tonight is our last night in Belize and people are packing and re-organizing the church as it looks pretty “toe-up” (according to P. Brian). It’s certainly necessary and is a convenient distraction from the bittersweet knowledge that tomorrow we go home to loved ones, but leave new friends.

For myself, I started on this trip as a reluctant act of obedience. After a couple of years of thinking to myself “maybe I should go…” God finally confirmed that yes indeed I should, through a simple invitation by Pastor Brian. I haven’t fully processed all that has happened here in Belize, but I have definitely witnessed some “God” moments while among the children during VBS, but also in the company of the Belize team.  Just to give a peak into a couple of standout moments for me (ask us for details when we get back! I need to sleep soon…):

1.     God really tugged at my heart when a boy named Daniel first came to us during our construction time. He and I seemed to build some trust, but he wasn’t so keen on joining VBS. So instead, I would meet him at designated times in front of our church complex instead. Oddly, he would show up and eventually joined VBS along with his sister, Tatiana. With such a brief encounter, I’m not sure what God impressed on his heart. For me though, I can at least be confident in knowing that God still chooses to use an imperfect me to reach those He loves. And I feel very loved myself knowing he still wants to.
2.     I’m so thankful for the youth that God has used on this trip. They are so full of compassion and love for the local kids as well as each other. A couple of their testimonies touched us all as well as some youth from the Belize Chinese Christian Church. Long story short: plenty of tissues went around.

But after the sadness, came lots of laughter. Today, we took a trip to Caye Caulker (pronounced kee kok-er), where we snorkeled, toured the island, and I literally “let my hair down.” It was huge. But more importantly, it was great to appreciate a part of God’s creation that I don’t get to see very often. The sharks, the rays, the odd formations were all awesome to see. I’ll also be thankful to see mountains again when we’re back in California! Can’t deny that I’ve been thinking of home and this was a sweet end to the trip.


Summer 2014 7/18/14 Day Eight: Richard Gao

Hi! I’m pretty inexperienced at blogging, so bear with me if what I try to get across and details are a bit confusing (I am a confusing person unfortunately). The day started off with the final day of VBS – and I’m personally sad and happy that VBS ended. I’ll start off with the sad news – that we won’t be able to see the kids again until next year and that there are only a few days left in Belize. But luckily, the good news is pretty amazing if I say so myself. Seeing a lot of the kids grow just in the 5 days of VBS can only be explained by the love the team gave and God’s love. I remember the first day of VBS when kids were nervous and didn’t want to participate in the songs, games, or crafts. Needless to say that by day five, a lot of them had opened up their shells and they all seemed to be at home. I was especially happy since I was able to share the Gospel one on one to one of my kids, Ivy, even if I don’t know whether or not it impacted her. 
            After the VBS cleanup ended, the group decided that we should finish painting the rails of the stairway and repaint the basketball court lines at the church. Derrick, one of the VBS kids, stayed and supplied us with fresh coconut water directly from the coconut.
             The basketball tournament was next on our to-do list, but since this is Belize things don’t always go as planned. The last basketball tournament two days ago had few people show up, not enough to actually have a full-fledged tournament. Despite this, we decided it would be best to go to the basketball courts and just hangout with the Belizean youth that showed up. People played volleyball, Frisbee, basketball, and some even painted a poster with Belize. It gave us time to just see the youth of Belize and give them our love and hang out with them one last time before we leave.
            Youth group is an essential aspect for me and a lot of the other youth at LGCC. Auntie Edith, the coordinator of our trip as well as BCCC’s youth group, introduced us to the youth group at BCCC. After attending their youth group, we were treated to pearl milk tea!!!! Hanging out with the Belizean youth was just a good experience to bond with them. We then ate dinner with the Belizean youth group and shared our testimonies. Some of the testimonies moved the Belizean youth, and after long rounds of prayer, the Belizean youth left. As the day came to a close, our mission team prayed for each other, for the kids at VBS, for the youth who were moved by the testimonies, and God’s hand in Belize overall. This would probably be one of the most eventful and moving day I’ve had in Belize – just seeing God’s work and seeing people open and pour their hearts out.

Prayer requests:
1.     Pray for all the VBS kids to continue to come to church/have God in their lives.
2.     Pray specifically for Derrick’s family of 11(one of the Belizian youth and VBS kids), one of the families that needs love and that the children in the family would see how God can work in their lives as He has worked in others’ as seen through the testimonies.
3.     Safety in the last few days of the mission trip.

-Richard Gao

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer 2014 7/17/14 Day Seven: Preston Wong (SCBC)

7:15-8:15- Breakfast
            We ate cereal and oatmeal with milk as a drink.
8:15-9:00- Prep for VBS
I was in charge of the craft station and the craft was a card that had the Lord’s Prayer on it with a personal message from the VBS small group leaders.  Setup was not very hard, as we just had to prepare the stickers for decoration.
9:00-12:00- VBS
In the crafts station, the kids were relatively well behaved as they copied down the Lord’s Prayer.  We had 3 groups cycle through, and we had to modify the craft for some of the younger kids, as writing the whole Lord’s Prayer took too much time.
12:00-1:00- Lunch
We ate curry beef with rice, lettuce, and cucumber for the main course with pineapple and papaya for dessert.
1:00-2:00- Bus ride to Auntie Edith’s plantation
We stopped by a supermarket to buy snacks, and I bought some hot sauce as gifts and a bag of chips for the visit to the plantation.  The bus ride took one hour, and we were able to see the mission trip project at the children hostel that the group did last year.  Although I was not in that group last year, I could see how developed the complex was compared to the surrounding buildings.
2:00-5:00- Visiting 2 beaches
We went to two different “beaches” that were next to a river.  It was a very relaxing atmosphere until we realized that there were botflies flying around, which are flies that could lay eggs in human skin.  Other than that, we waded and swam around and in general, had lots of fun.
5:00-6:00- Bus ride to Friendship Chinese Restaurant
This was a much more lively bus ride, as we were both excited from visiting Auntie Edith’s plantation and hungry because we were anticipating a dinner in a restaurant.
6:00-8:00- Dinner at the Friendship Chinese Restaurant
Our dinner consisted of fried chicken with French fries, sweet and sour chicken, chicken fried rice, mixed vegetables, and Chinese vegetables with garlic.  We had a choice of cherry Fanta, regular Fanta, sprite, coke, watermelon juice, and orange juice as beverages, and I chose the watermelon juice.  At the end of the dinner, we celebrated Pastor Brian and Sylvia’s anniversary with a cheesecake ice- cream cake.
8:00-11:00- Free time
During free time, we fellowshipped with each other and had some fun with card games like Love Letter.  I also wrote the blog and called my parents during this time.
Prayer requests:
1.     We would all have energy to end VBS with a strong finish.
2.     The basketball tournament tomorrow would be successful, as we had few children show up to the last tournament on Wednesday.
3.     That all of our efforts to reach out to the kids would have some lasting impact on them, whether it be planting a seed within them about the notion of Christianity to accepting Jesus as their savior.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer 2014 7/16/14 Day Six: Austin Quon

Hey Everyone!

Hi this is Austin. Well today I guess I’m doing the blog.  Today was our third day of VBS. I’m in charge of games and today I was a little worried what game we would play, because for the last few days I’ve had to use games that I planned for other days earlier than expected. I was able to come up with a game that I called dodge sponge (which is basically dodge ball with sponges instead). The kids got really wet and seemed to have a lot of fun. Today we also had an additional four kids come to VBS.  The kids seemed to be more open today than before and I could see God working through all my fellow teammates by how they loved on all the kids.
After VBS I noticed that the church smelled amazing, and later I realize that it was our lunch. After lunch we planned to do a basketball tournament and we assumed that we would have 20+ teenagers, but when we got there it was more like 6 teenagers and 8 kids. At first we where a little confused about what to do and where a little worried, we decided to just play one long game with the people we had there. A few of us chose to play too, including me. The game was 4 quarters of 6 minutes, but while I was playing it felt like it was much longer. So in the end it worked out, but unfortunately my team lost.
When we got back from the basketball courts we had a bit of free time and me, Emmett, and Justin decided to try something new… we washed our clothe by hand. It was an interesting experience to say the least. After that, our day was pretty much over. Looking back I can see how God can work with whatever the circumstance. Whether it is a basketball tournament with too few people or a VBS with more and more kids coming. God has spoken to me today about focusing on Him and keeping my goal focused on what he wants me to do and not rely on myself.

Some prayer request that we have today is:
for the kids in the vbs and their families
for the safety and health of our team
for all the people that we interact with and that we can make positive impact on them
for the families in the BCCC
That God would continue to work through our VBS

Thank you everyone for all your support and prayer for the team. God Bless!

-Austin Quon

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer 2014 7/15/14 Day Five: James Lo (SCBC)

            Once again God has blessed us in Belize with an exciting and productive day in our work for him.  Today, just like yesterday, began with VBS proceeded by an excellent breakfast of Belizean Fried Jacks courtesy of Edith and Ms. Lupicia. VBS was as chaotic with every child bouncing off the walls with boundless energy and vigor. Their youthful excitement was especially prevalent when each crew of kids shared their cheer to be judged by Craig and his “expert” panel of judges (the winner being “Fried Chicken, Watermelon, Ice-Cream” team).  God truly blessed us in terms of attendance with every single child returning from Monday along with ten new kids brining our total up to 52 and nearing our once lofty goal of 60 children. With so many kids our crew leaders were sometimes overwhelmed, but God helped us persevere and continue to provide love that the children need ample amounts of love they all need. (Thanks to Ann for the penguin walk to keep the preschoolers in line).
            Once all the VBS kids had left, except for Derek and Eric who stayed to help, we returned to the construction project at hand. We made good progress digging yesterday, so for the construction, most of the work was in digging up the tenacious layer of earth that remained below the upper layer. Once again we all worked and sweat like few of us had done before, and due God’s role in motivating each and every one of us as well as a great effort from the entire team we were able to complete the digging. Now we only await the contractors to come and provide the church with a brand new parking lot. The painting also continued and good progress was made on it as well as we rallied to work diligently until dinner.  
            After dinner Sylvia lead us in group prayer to pray for each individual child by name, their families, and their future. This session enabled us to truly talk with God for the needs for every child in a more personal manner than normal prayer.
            By the end of the day, I found myself anticipating the next. My experience here in Belize and far exceeded by expectations, as I believe is the same for many of the first timers. Belize is a wonderful place and I thank God for bringing all of us here on this missions…OMG THERE’S A COCKAROACH ON MY LEG!

Prayer Request
1)   That all the children in VBS will be touched by Jesus and choose to bring him into their heart.       
2)   For the basketball tournament starting tomorrow
3)   For the general weather and environment to be accommodating (bugs, temperature, rain, etc.)

- James Lo