Another wonderful day in Belize has come and gone. These days are flying by – tomorrow is already the last day of camp and we cannot believe it. God is on the move here and we’re so in awe of all He has already done.
We started our day with delicious pancakes, eggs, beans, bacon, yellow watermelon, pineapple, bananas, and orange juice for breakfast. The pancakes were so fluffy — I’m still daydreaming about them!
After breakfast, we split up for quiet time around the hotel. Everyone has their own little spot they go to each day. Some go to the rooftop and others the upstairs lobby. We encourage team members to spend this time alone and really dig into their devo before we start our day of programming.
Once we finished devos, we met in the upstairs lobby to prepare for the rest of our day. We packaged cookies for the women’s conference, got snacks and supplies ready for camp, and made sure things were prepped for our afternoon programs. It was so cool to look around the room and see everyone serving shoulder to shoulder on so many unique tasks. When we had everything prepared for our day, we grabbed our supply bins and loaded up the bus for camp. When we got on the bus, Peyton T. prayed over our day.
When we arrived at St. Matthew’s for camp, so many kids were already there waiting for us! As we pulled into the driveway, they started running towards us and yelling out names. “Peyton! James! Madison! Kelley! Cris! Chantel! Renee!” — each shouting for their newest best friend. We unloaded the bus and started setting up everything for this day of camp. Today’s Bible point was “God saves me. I am made new.” The kids here in Belize are incredible auditory learners. You say something once, and it’ll stick forever. We reviewed all of our Bible points in the opening session. Hearing their little voices saying, “I am a treasure!” and “I am made new!” — it makes all of the hard work worth it.
During camp, I think most everyone I talked too said their favorite station was games. They played a minute-to-win-it style game where they had to fill up a bucket with water by running a sponge back and forth. They got so competitive and were so full of joy when they won. James and Cris did a great job of making sure everyone felt seen and included. In the craft station with Susan and Chantel, they had a pear and a message in a bottle of sand that said “God saves me. I am made new.” The kids loved them! One of the little girls squealed when she learned she could take it home with her. She couldn’t wait to show her mom! At Amber and Alex’s station, they had another fun escape room where they had to search for clues all around the room. At Megan and Emily’s station, they watched a video and had to put the Bible verse of the day together using a puzzle. Today’s verse was Romans 10:9. At Kelley and Jennifer’s station they got snacks and water, but they also received a gummy shark if they answered questions during their group discussion about the lesson today. The kids loved it and were stashing their sharks away to enjoy when they got home. Camp was such a hit and the kids are loving their new friends they’ve made within our team.
After camp was over and the kids were waiting for the bus to come back to pick them up, we got to play together in the schoolyard. From soccer to jumping on tires and hair braiding to piggy back rides, each interaction was so special.
When we got back to the hotel, we put our things down and washed up before heading upstairs for lunch. Today we had yummy chicken fajita burritos on homemade tortillas and watermelon juice. It was so so good! After lunch, we had a few minutes to regroup and grab our things before leaving for our afternoon programs.
We got to the school a little early to get a head start on setting up our programs. The teen girls conference was absolutely beautiful today. They had 34 teenage girls in a room worshipping and bonding over the Bible stories. They each got to paint a mirror to take home with them to remind them who God says they are. There were some younger girls that came with their siblings, and they got to color on a massive roll of paper outside on the porch. As I stood in the doorway between the teen girls and the younger girls, I could hear the younger girls joining in singing the worship songs. One of the little girls was 6 or 7 and was boldly worshipping without hesitation. As I stood in the doorway and listened to the girls worship, I couldn’t help but cry thinking about how God has orchestrated each moment of this experience so each person in attendance could meet God in a way they could best see Him and His heart for them.
Warriors Camp was incredible again today. They had SO many boys in attendance I couldn’t even count. They multiply each day, and I’ve never seen anything like this for the young men in Belize. They’re learning and growing, showing respect for one another, and truly taking in every moment. Today, one of their challenges were to build a shelter out of natural supplies they found around the school. All of a sudden, machetes were out and they were cutting branches off of palm trees to create a shelter for their tribe. Their shelters were being judged by myself and Alex on creativity, sturdiness, and rain-proofing. They took it so seriously and were so creative in the ways they gathered supplies and built their shelters. They had a set amount of time to gather supplies. Towards the end, Alex yelled “30 seconds!”, and boys across the schoolyard screamed “Run! Run! Run!” Had they been late, their team would have lost a point. Their other challenge was to build a fire for 5 additional points. Each tribe was able to do it, and they got so excited about building it.
Transformed Conference for the women was powerful again today. The women continue to invite their friends to be in the room. They’re truly experiencing transformation and want everyone they know to experience it too. Today, Jennifer shared her story at the conference. It moved women to tears and made such an impact on people’s hearts. Today’s topic was “I am surrendered”, and Jennifer boldly proclaimed it. Today’s songs were “Waymaker”, “More Than Able”, and “Trust in God”. Each day of the conference, we raffle off a few prized by randomly drawing tickets from a basket. We have had some beautiful Bath and Body Works products for them, and they’ve gotten so excited for it each day.
After the afternoon programs were done, we spent some time chatting with everyone in the schoolyard. Story after story was shared about how God is moving and working — so much gratitude shown. I was on a mission to find a girl named Zoye that has be attending the women’s conference. Ten years ago, Zoye was in my group for camp at a neighboring school. We got to talking about our memories and what life is like now for her. She looked at me and said, “I just wish we could spend more time together.” I love that God is so in the details of every piece of our stories. It was such a gift to see her today and remember where God had us and see where He has brought us.
We loaded up the bus once more and drove back to the hotel. We freshened up and gathered to walk out to the village together. We couldn’t wait to introduce our new team members to the families of the children they’ve met this week. We spent about 30 minutes playing and chatting with each other. Every time we go into the village, it feels like a family reunion. While we were back there, Shantey showed us her presentation she memorized for the pageant at St. Matthew’s a couple months ago. She is so incredibly smart and kind – no wonder she won the pageant!
For dinner tonight, we had what felt like a feast for a king. We had fried red snapper, fried plantain, cole slaw, white rice, and coconut tarts. SO good! Dinner was full of so many conversations about our day and how we saw God in it.
After dinner, we gathered for team worship and devos. Amy read our scripture for the night, and our worship team led us in “More Than Able” and “Waymaker”. Afterwards, we had a time of prayer with one another while the song “Runnin’” by Elevation Worship played. Team members found one another to pray with and encourage. It was so powerful, and there are so many incredible moments to be shared from it. At the end, we separated into groups by our afternoon program role to plan for how we can finish well tomorrow. It sounds so weird to be talking about the last day of camp and programs. This week has flown by and tomorrow won’t be any different.
As I sit here and write this, several of our team members are upstairs giggling and having a fun time fellowshipping with one another. The rest of us are in bed and already asleep or very close to it. Our days are full, but so are our hearts.
Please be praying for our Night of Worship on Friday 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.
Today was incredible, and it was so fruitful. God is so good! Thank you so much for reading the blog and for praying for our team as we serve this week!
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