Chasing After God

July 14, 2023

Today was bittersweet and beautiful. Our last day of camp, the women’s conference, the teen girls retreat, and boys camp was today. This day is always hard, but our hearts are full knowing what God accomplished today and throughout the week. It was so beautiful to see everything come together and click into place for the kids and adults alike. A community chasing after God.

We started our day like every other with breakfast at 7AM on the rooftop. We had toast, fried eggs, beans, sausage, watermelon, and orange juice this morning. Some of us opted to eat each piece separate and others chose to make a little breakfast sandwich out of everything. It was all so delicious, as usual!

After breakfast, we separated into our quiet time spots for our devo. This is our routine every morning and it holds us accountable so well to be in the Word and prayer before we jump into our programming for the day. After quiet time, we loaded up the van with our supplies for the day. When we arrived at the school, the kids that had been waiting for us ran to the bus. We asked if one of them wanted to come in and pray over our day. Sweet little Tristen prayed over our day and said the most beautiful prayer. He did it so boldly and without hesitation. It was the perfect way to start the last day of camp!

We set everything up one last time before starting opening session. Amy helped register all of the new kids (we had several) and check in anyone who had come already. In “the port” (the main space for camp), squad leaders were dancing with their kids and having a blast. Around 9:30AM, we started camp officially and learned that “God calls me. I have a purpose.” We sang “Jump, Shout, and Sing” and “All Around the World. It’s so sweet to see the kids take the dance moves so seriously. They watch Peyton and Olivia like a hawk, not wanting to miss any part of the dance. 

During opening session, we all stepped outside for a massive group photo together. It brought me so much joy to step back and see how many little hearts were changed through camp this week. Each of them took something away from what they experienced. Today’s camp went by faster than any of the others. In Peyton and James’ station, they played a matching game where they had to find their match without talking. In Chantel and Susan’s station, the kids made a craft that will remind them of all the Bible points throughout the week. They loved getting to color their craft the way they wanted with as much creativity as their hearts desired. In Amber and Alex’s station, they worked as a team to gain clues to beat the escape room. I walked in at one point and one of my little friends was sitting in the corner. She looked sad and her squad leader told me she was thirsty and upset. I went over and talked to her to find out what was wrong. Except…she wasn’t sad at all. She was just ahead of the group and had already found the next thing. She had her arm behind a bookshelf and looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I’m not leaving this box”. She’s so smart and was so ahead of everyone else. Not to mention, she had so many people in the room fooled! It was so funny and adorable all at once. I love her determination! In Jennifer and Kelley’s station, the kids got their snacks. On their way out, each of them got a shark gummy to enjoy. For Emily and Megan’s station, the squads watched a video and learned how to be “fishers of men”. They played a magnetic fishing game to learn the Bible verse. The kids loved “fishing”!

At the end of camp, we always say “See You Later” and never “Goodbye”. It’s so hard to watch the kids roll away on the bus. For many of them, we might not get to see them until camp next year, but we are so excited for it! We got to hang out with some of the kids while they waited for their bus and it was so fun. Most of them were the kids in the village we love, so it felt familiar and safe. Everything from playing tag to playing hair salon, and everything in between.

We got back to the hotel right in time for lunch. We had an incredible meal — a chicken nacho bar, meat pies, and lime juice. Talk about DELICIOUS! Everything was so so good! After lunch, we had a few minutes to regroup before needing to leave for our afternoon programs.

When we arrived at the school for the afternoon programs, you could feel something different in the air — expectancy. As we started setting up, the people started arriving. The bus pulled into the driveway practically overflowing with women, teen girls, and boys. They couldn’t wait to see what the Lord had in store.

At the women’s conference today, there were so many beautiful moments. From the discussions at each table to the heartfelt words shared with one another, it was perfect. Today’s topic was “I am powerful”, and Renee shared her testimony. It had an impact on so many. At the end of the experience, prayer within small groups broke out across the back of the room. Women praying for each other, women gathering with their church leaders to pray — it was beautiful. This is what our hope and our prayer was for this conference. The women came for something specific and weren’t going to leave without it. God is on the move in this community.

At the teen girls conference, they finished out their last day by reiterating everything they learned this week. Each girl took a moment to write an “I Am” statement on the hand-painted photo backdrop based off of who God says we are. They each got to pick out a “Highly Favored” shirt for themselves and also create a bouquet out of the flower decor from the week. They were giddy with excitement. As I looked around the room, I saw a group of girls that had been loved and seen on a level they never have before. 

During the teen girls conference, the girls that were too little to join were coloring outside on the porch. They kept asking me to take a video of them but wouldn’t say what it was about. I started recording, and they said in unison “We are recording a video for God!” Immediately, their faces lit up in the most joyful way. As they jumped up and down, they yelled, “I love God, I love God, I love God.” Over and over again, completely unprompted, and so beautiful. I love that their heart was there. Jesus was on their mind. The team members that got to lead the teen girls conference said today was so beautifully emotional. Worship was full of tears — our team members realized their impact today and this week. Each team member had the opportunity to pray over their group before leaving.

The boys camp today looked like so much fun! They started their final day with tribal council and Beanboozled. If you’ve never played the jellybean game of Beanboozled, do it at your own risk — some of them are disgusting tasting! The boys had to keep a straight face while chewing a nasty jellybean in order to get a point for their tribe. Every single one of them kept a straight face, through boogers and barf and dead fish and every other gross flavor. It was hilarious. Afterwards, they played capture the flag with water balloons. I loved seeing them really scope out who they wanted to chase and throw a balloon at. They’ve had so much fun this week and have taken away valuable lessons about being a man, honoring one another, and looking to God’s Word. 

When we finished the afternoon programs, we took photos in front of the backdrops and settled down in the school yard for a bit. Yesterday, Amy met Pastor Prosper from Dangriga as he was passing by. He couldn’t believe what was taking place. Today, he came back to talk and was so kind to us. Pastor Prosper and his wife will have to miss our Night of Worship as they’re heading on vacation to Virginia Beach. Like, what are the chances?!

When we got back to the hotel, we had some time to refresh and relax before going up to dinner. Our dinner was OUT OF THIS WORLD. We had fettuccine alfredo with chicken, garlic rolls, and banana/chocolate chip muffins. I could have eaten that meal for days – it was so good and a hit amongst our team.

After dinner, we set up for our movie night! We invited our friends from the village to a rooftop showing of The Chosen. We watched the episode about feeding the 5,000 and Jesus walking on water. We’ve never had a more captivating movie night in the history of coming to Belize. Our little friend is only 5 years old and didn’t move once while watching it. When I asked if he knew who was on the screen, he smiled so big and said, “Jesus!” He told me how much he loved it and wanted to watch more. Our other little friend called Peyton S. a bean bag. Peyton was sitting on the floor and he would jump from a step and rely on Peyton (his human bean bag) to catch him.

Today was an incredible day, and it was full of so many God moments. It’s hard to believe that camp and our afternoon programs are already over, but we know without a doubt that so many seeds were planted this week. The best is yet to come!

We are so excited for our Night of Worship tomorrow night! We’re expecting God to show up in ways we cannot even fathom. He’s already doing so much, and we cannot wait to see how He uses this time and this field to bring revival to Pomona. Please be praying for this event throughout the day!

Thank you so much for reading and for your patience! Our days here are long and full, but I am so grateful we get to document what God is doing here! 

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