Day 6

It’s 8:55 p.m. and there’s an intense game of Catch Phrase going on in the Mission House right now, so I’m taking the liberty to write the blog while they’re preoccupied 😉

It’s been a great day with the team, the staff and the kids.  We started our day the same way we have all week.  Most of us went to our designated class to lead the Bible time.  Chubbs and Josh have been entertaining the Pre-K bunch with songs and stories.  Hannah S loves her time with the kinder-crew,  Hanner has been lovin’ hanging out with the first grade bunch, Nici takes on the second grade, Jordan and Keeton make a great team with the 3rd graders, EmH takes the 4th, Sarah hangs with the 5th, Becca does a great job with 6th while JT has won the hearts of the 7th grade bunch (they had to warm up to him) and I have loved being with the 8th graders for Bible time.  I think this is where we were stretched the most.  It kinda felt like being that “substitute teacher” for the first day or two, but as they got to know us, (after a few games of afternoon soccer ) all was well.

Today was a special day.  After Bible time, we had a day full of fun activities planned for these kids.  Keeton, Chubbs, Jordan, Nicole and Josh got to work filling about 400 water balloons, while Hanner, Sarah, Becca, Hannah S and I painted the faces of these amazing, cute little preschool and kinder kids.  Hannah S and EmH had fun blowing big bubbles with them and we sent them back to class with candy.  The rest of the kids had their faces painted and got to partake in water balloon games.  It was a sweltering, hot day so there was a lot of “misfires” between our team members!  Lots of the teachers were bombed with water balloons, but there were no complaints there!  Jordan got in an all-out war with one of the teachers, Mr. Gareth.  Not sure who won that one……..

After school, Josh was getting his hair braided by one of the teachers.  It turned out to be a 3 hour deal (but so worth it!), so the rest of the team engaged in a volleyball game, which is a nightly thing here.  It’s never too dark to play.  (We’ve been really creative in lighting up the court to keep the games going!)

It’s been really great connecting with our Belizean family here.  The relationships are priceless and so are the memories that are being made.  There are definite heart-connections here that will be long-lasting.

Tomorrow morning, school has been cancelled so that we can have a day with the staff, so the boys are getting up before the birds to go ‘fishing on the Carib.’  The girls get to sleep in, go to our new favorite coffee shop and then to the chocolate house to load up on yummers!  We have to be back by 2:00 tho, cuz that’s when our Spa Day begins.  Sarah will be pampering all of the teachers with amazing massages and I’ll be giving them the hair-dos.  When the boys get home with their catch, we’ll fry them up and serve dinner to the staff and teachers.  I’m pretty sure a volleyball game will be squeezed in somewhere :’D

Well, the Catch Phrase game is still going strong, but I’m signing off.  Thank you for your prayers. We’ve had an amazing trip.  Everyone is healthy and thriving.  Please continue to pray for us and we’ll keep you updated.

~Carla

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Day #5

Good evening all!

We’ve been at this for four days now and have settled into a solid routine. Eight members of our team have done this before and are old pros; they’ve taught us four newbies the ropes and we’re working well together. It’s been neat to see how living and working alongside one another day in and day out has brought an already close-knit group even closer.

But as Christ-followers, we are in a spiritual battle, and the enemy is sure to attack. Please be praying that our bond would only grow stronger through our faith in Christ, and that we would love one another as family should.

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:`1-3, ESV

With the exception of a quick painting project and straightening the school’s library, we spent the majority of the day in the classrooms leading devotionals and helping students with homework and grading tests. Also, soccer… we played a lot of soccer.

During the first of the two 40 minute games, Sarah K taught about fifteen 6-8 year old girls how to pick up the ball when playing goalie. Not knowing the proper time and place to apply her new skill, one of the little girls ran right into the fray of the game and picked up the ball, just like Sarah taught her. It was adorable, and Sarah was so proud. Both games were hot and tiring (it was worse for the guys, who ran far more than us girls did), but playing with the kids gave us so much joy.

Tomorrow we spend all day with the kids. After morning devotionals, we have a full day of face-painting, games, water balloons and activities planned. It’s going to be a long (and hot) one, but it’s the last day of school for this week, and we want to make the most of it. We would appreciate your prayers for endurance to make it through positively. Please also be praying for JT and Emerson who will be traveling 4 hours away to pick up a new water heater for the school.

This afternoon we drove into Punta Gorda, a small town where Vicente, Becca, Keeton, and I saw and touched the Caribbean for the first time. We walked around, looking into small street shops to buy souvenirs for family and treat ourselves to ice cream. I bet you haven’t had Craboo or Sour Sop ice cream before! On our way back we stopped by a new coffee shop on the third story of a gorgeous hotel. Owned by Christians, the names of all of their drinks had names like “Forgiveness,” and “Promise Land” (it had milk and honey in it). Their espresso was stupendous.

Again, there is simply too much to describe, and I am too tired to get it all down before going to bed. Thank you for checking in with us, we are ever grateful for your support!

EmH, Team Belize

Day #3 and #4

Hey there!

A lot can happen in 48 hours, including a lot of fun…and exhaustion. Here’s a quick overview of what’s been going on for the last two days.

PROJECTS

#1 – Sidewalk

Yesterday the guys began doing the grunt work for a sidewalk between the staff housing and the mission’s bunkhouse. They used every tool in the shed—pick axes, hoes, sledgehammers shovels, spades. From what I observed, their favorite to use was the sledgehammer. Today they were ready to pour the concrete.

#2 – Painting

In between helping out in the classroom and helping the guys with the sidewalk, us girls have been working on painting the wooden window rims of a TCA staff house. Monday we got through the first two coats, and by the end of the day we had finished the project.

SCHOOL

Yesterday morning we all began helping in TCA’s classrooms. Each of us volunteered to serve in one of the nine classrooms. Throughout the day we’re available to help the teachers in whatever way they need, and from 8:30-9:00am we do the devotionals for the kids. It’s been a neat way to connect with the kids and get to know the teachers. At lunch time the kids swarm us with hugs, requesting piggy-back rides and soccer games. I think we have most of their names down now.

HIGHLIGHTS

Today’s highlight for the majority of the group was getting massages from our resident massage therapist (thank you Sarah K!) after an exhausting day. But other highlights included teaching, playing football with the kids, eating Daniel’s amazing food, getting to know the teachers, shoveling over 100 buckets of dirt (it was actually a lot of fun), and finishing the sidewalk.

We would appreciate prayers for our physical strength and health. Please also pray for wisdom and understanding to know how to love and bless the kids and teachers of TCA. I speak for everyone when I say we are grateful for your support.

EmH, Team Belize

Day #2

Disclaimer: a lot has happened in 24 hours, and I cannot possibly describe everything in a single blog post. My goal for these daily-posts is to give you and overview of what our day looked like and share a highlight, something that stood out, and will hopefully bless and encourage you. 🙂 

Hello from Yemeri Grove, in Toledo Belize!

This morning we woke up to birds chirping outside, other than that the world was completely silent. I looked out one of the windows and saw the school grounds–a group of buildings in a clearing, surrounded by jungle on three side and a road on the other–for the first time in daylight. As someone from a state experiencing drought, the view was one overwhelming amount of green.

Because there was no school today, our day was relaxing. This morning we fellowshipped (yes, that is a word) and worshiped in an open-aired sanctuary with God’s church. A few girls from our team helped with the children’s Sunday school, and the rest of us stayed for a message on what a healthy church looks like (Titus 2). In the afternoon we hopped in the van and drove to the Golden Stream, about 20 minutes away. There we swam, explored, and caught miniature frogs. The boys, of course, engaged themselves in a number of shennanigans, which included Josh and Vicente trying to balance on fallen logs, trying to throw the other into the water.

After getting back from the river, we walked a mile to Hosea and Husta’s (family of TCA staff) hospitable home and farm. There we enjoyed a traditional Belizean meal of chicken, rice, and squash in a flavorful broth with homemade tortillas. During dinner, we sipped on Cacao, a cool, cocoa-based, sweet drink. It was a delicious meal, and we ate together as family.

Post-dinner most of the team disappeared outside. They ended up spending 30 minutes throwing sticks and rocks up into a tree, trying to fell a particularly stubborn coconut. A few of us stayed inside, talking with Hosea, Husta and Emerson.

I don’t regret my decision to stay inside, being the new one to TCA, and Belize, I have a lot of history to catch up on. Emerson told us about some of his childhood, how God brought him and his wife, Juliana, and his son, Juan, together, and how he brought him and his Juliana to teach at TCA.

He shared with us the truth that God walks us through circumstances that are impossible to successfully navigate on our own. Citing Luke 8:22-25. Emerson reminded us of how Jesus took his 12 disciples out onto the Sea of Galilee in the midst of a major storm. The only thing he asked of them was to trust him. To have faith. It was a blessing to talk with a brother, hearing how God has worked in his life and being encouraged by his story.

Then we went outside, and Emerson knocked down the stubborn coconut…on his second try.

Right now all twelve of us are back in our bunker, playing games, resting, reading, showering, and in my case writing. Thank you for your prayers. Tomorrow we hit the ground running by leading devotionals for the kids. We’re excited, but also a little nervous. God is faithful, and we’re grateful.

EmH, Team Belize

Day One

“I know God has something smashing planned.”

My little sister (who happens to have a fantastic vocabulary) is quite right, God does have a beautiful plan for this trip to Belize, and we are seeing that beauty unfold before us.

He has made it very clear to me that this trip is exactly where he wants us to be. It’s been a faith-strengthening experience to watch God as he has paved the way for our 12-man team to be going on this trip.

We are officially on our way, and so far so smooth. 10 of us are currently in Houston eating expensive airport food while we wait for our flight to Belize City. Josh and Mr. Thiry (JT) are a few hours ahead of us renting a van and getting ready to pick us up when we land. From there we drive 4.5 hours to Toledo Christian Academy.

I usually can’t sleep on planes, but there was something about waking up at 3am that knocked me out. Looking at my teammates in the seats around me, they all seem to be having the same experience, despite the tight quarters, two crying babies and coffee. Hopefully there is more sleep to come–some of us need to catch up AND stock up. I think Vicente is snoring (just kidding).

We would be grateful if you would be praying for continued safe travels as we transfer flights and then drive to TCA. Please also be praying that our ears would be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who directs our eyes to see where he is at work and how he’d like us to serve/love.

The knowledge that we have brothers and sisters at home praying for the work God is doing in our hearts and through our lives is strengthening. There are no bounds on the body of Christ.

EmH, Team Belize

*check back in tomorrow for another update and pictures. 🙂

Ready. Set. Go

Two and a half days left till take off!


 

Passport? Check.

Clothes? Check.

Bug Spray? Check.

It’s time for us to pack up.  We’re checking off those last items on our list and zipping up our duffel bags. Taking care of any loose ends before we head out on adventure. The excitement is definitely growing, as is the anticipation.

What is it going to be like? What impact are we going to leave? What is it God wants to do in our lives while we’re down there?

Please keep us in your prayers. Prayer coverage for 1)safety in travel,  2)protection from the elements, 3)abounding love for the people, 4)humility in service, 5)God’s Kingdom come, 6)God’s will to be done. We really appreciate it.

Our prayer  is, “Not our will, but Yours be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Father, let your  Kingdom come. Spirit set a fire in us, for the glory of Your Name.”         (lyrics from Kingdom by Urban Rescue)

Continue to check in with us through this blog. We’ll do our best to post our praise reports and prayer requests on a daily basis, as well as some pictures of us in Belize. Until then…”The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen!” (Rev. 22:21)

Team Belize

 

The Newest Belize Blog

Hey you! Yes you! The awesome person reading this! Thanks for stopping by our new and improved Team Belize blog! It’s here we’ll inform you of what’s going on with Team Belize, info on our next trip, save-the-date fundraisers and so much more cool stuff.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, feel free to comment on any post and we’ll do our best to give you a speedy reply.

Stay tuned for what’s coming up next! Trust me, its worth it.