Wow! What a day! It’s days like today where you sit back and think about the goodness of God. He knows us and our hearts. He’s a big God who cares about the details, and I think that is so beautiful. Today was packed with team time, preparing for our week of serving, and reuniting with our friends in the village. It was such a special day.
We began our day with breakfast on the rooftop of the Macaroni. For those of you that haven’t been to Belize, our hotel has a very top floor that overlooks the mountains. It’s absolutely breathtaking. A few of us were up this morning at 5:30am Belize time (7:30am EST) and got to take in the morning air and sunshine together. Mornings in Belize are so peaceful and are full of expectancy — not knowing exactly what God has in store for the day. At 8am the rest of the team joined us for our delicious breakfast. We had fry jacks, eggs, bacon, fruit, and orange juice. We took time to fellowship before heading downstairs to start quiet time. This year, we have a team devotion that we started 9 days before we left and will finish out 9 days after the Mission Experience ends. It’s the perfect way to prepare our hearts for each day — setting the tone and putting Him first.
After our quiet time, we started pulling out our supplies for the week. Between the family camp and the women’s conference, there’s a lot we needed to prepare for and organize. We spent our morning making sure all of the things were prepped for each station and learning our roles for the week. We worked up until lunchtime. While we were waiting for lunch to be ready, Chantel asked Amy what everyone’s connection was to 28:19 Ministries and how everyone got to Belize. This opened up the perfect opportunity for each team member to share their testimony. We pulled all of the tables on the rooftop together in a big family-style way and shared our stories with one another over burgers and french fries. Each team member was uniquely called and purposed to be on this team. Each one said “yes” not knowing exactly what they were getting into. Story after story of God’s faithfulness and provision. Stories of promise and stories that have yet to unfold completely — each one so valuable and meaningful. Spending this time as a team today was so perfect and beautiful. It allowed for discipleship and connection on a deeper level. God knows the desires of our hearts.
After lunch it was finally time. The moment we’ve anticipated and waited for since we left Belize in 2019 (pre-COVID). Something that is so unique to this Mission Experience is that it’s built on the foundation of relationships. Knowing faces, names, and stories — it’s so important and special. Life is so different after experiencing a global pandemic. As we walked through the village, we were met with familiar faces and shy smiles. The longer we talked, the comfortability returned. We keep up with each other on Facebook, but nothing beats a face to face conversation and a tight hug. Kids that were too young to talk last time we were here are carrying on conversations with us, and the ones that were teenagers are growing into beautiful and strong young adults with dreams and goals. In one conversation we were asked, “How did you feel when you couldn’t come to Belize for two years? We were so sad. We kept waiting for you.” Another asked, “So, are you going to start coming every year now?” If that doesn’t show the depth of the relationship we have with these kids, I don’t know what will. Only God can knit hearts together like that. We shared the life that has happened in the last three years — the joy of weddings and celebrations and the losses, too. It’s so incredibly sweet to do life with people 1500 miles away — it’s family. God knows the desires of our hearts.
We had so much fun introducing our new team members to the kids they’ve heard us talking about for the last several months — putting faces to names and stories. Our next step was to head to the school to set up for camp this week. We chose the classrooms that will be used, cleaned them and decorated them to match our theme — the Great Adventure of Following Jesus. We even got to see some of the rice meals that World Help sent in their last shipment. They’re being eaten by students at St. Matthews. To give a little backstory, we started serving at World Help in 2020 when COVID canceled our Mission Experience in Belize. We knew we needed to do something, and God practically dropped World Help in our laps. We’ve served at World Help since and have seen it come more full circle than we ever thought possible. Annamae (our host in Belize and Principal of St. Matthew’s School) served at World Help with us in 2021 and met the President of World Help while she was there. After being moved by Annamae’s heart and hearing the needs of people in Belize, World Help started the process of making Belize an official partner of World Help. Fast forward to today — Kelley, a World Help employee that we absolutely adore, is here in Belize as a member of our 28:19 Ministries team. God is SO good. We couldn’t have planned this if we tried. God knows the desires of our hearts.
We left the school around 6PM to change for church and dinner. Annamae and her staff prepared a traditional Belizean Sunday dinner — BBQ Chicken, rice and beans, potato salad, plantains, and banana cake. Absolutely delicious and always a favorite amongst team members! After dinner we drove to church at Pomona Christian Community Church. Being at church in Pomona is always such a treat. We always feel so welcomed and surrounded by God’s presence. Pastor Wayne hit the nail on the head and touched on so many of the things we’ll be sharing this week at camp and our conference. So many of us left feeling like God was speaking directly to us, whether through the message or worship. God knows the desires of our hearts.
After church, we came back to the hotel and had one last chat about our first day of camp tomorrow before showering and going to bed. Today has been a full day of seeing God’s faithfulness and promise right before our eyes. We’re overwhelmed with gratitude to even be here right now and cannot wait to get started on everything tomorrow. Please pray specifically for the hearts of the people we’ll meet — that they would be open and willing to hearing what God has called us to share. Thank you for your prayers and support. We’re so so grateful!
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