This trip has felt so fast – it has flown by unlike any other! We came into this trip with a plan of what we wanted to accomplish, but the Lord did so much more than we could have ever anticipated. Each moment here has been purposeful and has exceeded our expectations. Today was no different. The Lord is moving in Belize. His presence is in Pomona. 28:19 Ministries exists to go where we are called in Jesus name, and we’re so grateful He has called us here.
This morning, we started bright and early as the sun rose over the hills. We had planned to spend the morning with our friends, Hez and Daniela. These are friendships that have grown over the last several years. Hez works at the hotel and Daniela is Annamay’s niece. We knew we wanted to set aside some time to spend with them and do some exploring. All of us jumped in the van and headed to Hopkins. We went to Hopkins Bay for breakfast together, and it was beautiful! Our table was right in the sand overlooking the Caribbean Sea. We all ordered something a little different — pancakes, french toast, breakfast burritos, stuffed fry jacks. All of it was delicious! Our favorite thing to do together is to sit family style around a table, sharing conversation and doing life together. We love that our December trip allows us to do more of this!
After breakfast, we walked out onto the beach and spent some time with our feet in the sand. We took LOTS of photos together and enjoyed the hammocks and lounge chairs. All of the beaches in Belize are public, so we were right next to a few tourists that were staying at the resort. We were so blessed with beautiful weather for our day together!
We drove through Hopkins and pointed out a few favorite spots to Amber and Kelley. Annamay met us at our next stop so she could spend the day with all of us as well!
We decided to try to do some souvenir shopping and went to a shop that supported local artists in Belize. We each picked out a few things at GariMaya, and then we went to the coffee shop next door. The coffee shop, Roast, is one that Daniela has been wanting to go to for months. It was the perfect place to stop and grab a treat to have alongside great conversation. From caramel macchiatos to oreo milkshakes and peppermint mochas to double shots of espresso – it’s safe to say we left there highly caffeinated. We left and needed to find a quick bite to eat for lunch before heading back to Pomona for our afternoon of events! We knew we all loved Jaguar Reef, so we stopped there for photos by the Christmas tree and a quick lunch together. We had a massive table that really felt like a family dining room. The time we get to spend all together is so sweet. Each of us ordered something different – salads, fish-n-chips, lobster fritters, traditional Sunday dinner, tacos, etc. We loved having another meal by the Caribbean Sea.
After lunch, we rushed back to Pomona to set up for our Christmas party! We did our first Christmas party for the village last year, and loved it! We just had to do it again! We had so many kids and parents there that I couldn’t even count! We had cookies to decorate that were homemade by volunteers in Virginia. We had wooden ornaments for the kids to decorate and coloring pages to color. We also had props to take photos with! The kids LOVED eating the cookies they decorated while they drank their hot chocolate. It was so sweet to see so many familiar faces in one space. At the end of the party, each child received a gift bag and a handwritten note from friends of 28:19. The bags had a coin wallet, t-shirt, a cup, a pencil, toothpaste, toothbrush, candy, and so much more. Their faces were full of so much joy as they pulled each new thing out of their bag. The handwritten notes were written by supporters of 28:19. I asked one little girl if she wanted to read her card to me. She smiled and shouted, “I don’t know how to read!” I offered to read it to her, so we sat in the corner. The last sentence of her card said “Don’t forget to hug someone you love”. She immediately put her arms out and pulled me in for a hug. It was the most precious moment, and certainly one I’ll never forget. The Christmas party had so many beautiful moments.
We finished cleaning up from the party and went downstairs to take inventory on what supplies we had left. We took a short break before joining back together for dinner. We had traditional Sunday dinner, but with a twist. It was chicken, potato salad, rice and beans, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. After dinner, it was time for The Gathering! We’ve been looking forward to attending since it launched! Tonight there were 32 people gathered in the upstairs of the hotel for worship and a message from Pastor Lord. The message was about having fullness of joy in the presence of God. It was so special to be in the room and see that faces of the people who are showing up each week. Please continue to pray for The Gathering and what the Lord is doing in and through it. We ended The Gathering with cupcakes (made with love by Ms. Shirlene), cookies, and hot chocolate. This was a time of prayer and fellowship. It was so nice.
For the last few hours, we’ve been hanging out, packing our bags, and preparing to leave Belize. Cristy surprised us with Chocoflan Impossible Cake, and it was delicious! Something sweet was exactly what we needed to push through packing night.
Tomorrow will be hard – leaving always is. This place is home, and these people are our family. We’re so grateful that this isn’t goodbye, just see you later. The Lord is on the move here. His presence is palpable. We are so expectant for all He has planned for Pomona.
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