God is SO good! Our first day of programming in Belize was fulfilling, joyful, and so much fun. Each year we visit Belize, we leave more in awe of what God is doing here. His Word is coming alive, people are discovering what a relationship with Him looks like, and lives are being transformed.
This morning started off a little rocky with a power outage when we woke up. Our team didn’t grumble or complain – we just kept moving, business as usual. It came back on shortly after breakfast and all was well again! We were praying that it wouldn’t affect our ability to do our programming today, and it didn’t. The enemy tried to stop us, but our God is stronger.
For breakfast, we had fry jacks (a team fave always), frittatas, beans, papaya, banana, cantaloupe, and orange juice. Delicious, as always! It’s been so sweet to start our day around the table together. It’s full of laughter and great conversation. Our team this year is so full of joy and expectancy for this experience and all God is doing here.
After breakfast, we separated for quiet time to do our daily devos. Today’s devotion was focused around Matthew 9:9-13. It was the perfect message to remind us of Jesus’ heart before going out to serve today.
After devos, we gathered in the upstairs lobby to gather our supplies and pray before leaving for camp. Alex prayed a beautiful and powerful prayer over our team. Then, we loaded up the bus and drove to the school! Squad leaders got ready to welcome the kiddos into their groups and teachers prepped their classrooms for the day’s activities.
Our camp theme is under the sea, and we’re calling it “The Great Adventure of Following Jesus: Faith Beneath the Surface”. The kids were drawn into the main space (The Port) with bubbles and music. We had a bubble machine that was donated through our Amazon Wishlist. The kids loved dancing in the bubbles and jumping to try to pop them. It brought Renee to tears to see their pure joy from something so simple.
At 9:30AM, camp officially started. Today’s Bible point was “God made me! I am known!” Olivia and Peyton T. led everyone in the dance moves to our songs. Today we sang Every Move I Make and Jump, Shout, and Sing. The kids loved it, especially when they got to do the waves for Every Move I Make!
After our opening session, each squad traveled from station to station. There were five rotations and each station reinforced the Bible point and Bible verse in a different way. One station was watching a video explaining the creation story. Emily and Megan got to reinforce the Bible verse with each group. James and Cris played a fun fishing game where the kids used a straw to pick up fish and sort them by color. Susan and Chantel had a coloring activity where each kid was asked to draw something they love. Amber and Alex had a super fun escape room set up. It was challenging, but a hit! Jennifer and Kelley were in charge of our snack station. They also helped each squad come up with a team name and chant.
At the end of camp, I looked around the schoolyard and kids were playing and hugging their squad leaders. Samantha and one of her kids raced around the schoolyard while Renee’s squad joined together for a group hug. So much beauty existed in those moments, and it was so sweet to witness.
After camp, we went back to the hotel for lunch. We had burgers, fries, and lime juice — it was a hit! The burgers were made with the fluffiest homemade buns and it was next level! After lunch, we freshened up before grabbing our supplies and heading back to the school for our afternoon programs.
Our team was split into three groups for our afternoon programs — Highly Favored for teen girls, Warriors for teen boys, and Transformed Conference for women. The turnout was absolutely incredible. Each program met each person right where they were at. They delivered the Gospel in unique and incredible ways that would make a true difference.
The teen girls had a video to watch and a craft. They made name placecards to use for the rest of the week. They were absolutely beautiful! Our team member in the room were brought to tears watching the girls worship — it reminded them of the importance of a childlike faith and made them long for it even more. The girls left looking so confident and happy.
The boys camp was survivor style! They were split into three tribes — orange, green, and purple. They had to hunt down their tribe flag to start, and they had a blast! It was so fun to look out the windows and see the flags flying behind them. Getting to see them have fun put a smile on our faces. The boys also earned points for their tribes by completing relays, playing games, and memorizing scripture. Three boys from each tribe memorized the Bible passage and could recite it by heart at the end of the day. Nine boys that didn’t know scripture when they woke up this morning, went to bed knowing what God’s Word says! Doesn’t that give you goosebumps?! Cris, Alex, James, Peyton S., and Elijah were incredible leaders and made the boys feel so seen, known, and loved.
The women’s conference was more than we could have dreamed it would be. We had so many returning women who attended our conference last summer along with so many new faces. We love that this conference included a one-to-one sponsorship. Today, we got to share the names of our donors that made the conference possible. Because of your generosity, women were lavished and loved on today. They got to leave their responsibilities behind and truly worship and be in God’s Word. We sang “More Than Able” and “Goodness of God”. If there’s anything that brings me to tears, it’s listening to the women sing “Goodness of God”. When they sing “all my life you have been faithful and all my life you have been so so good, with every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God”, it sounds like a choir of angels. There’s so much beauty in the vulnerability that these women bring into the room. Amy shared her testimony around today’s Bible Point “I am devoted” while the women enjoyed cookies and juice. Afterwards, the women discussed the devo in their small groups. At the end, we sang “I Thank God”. As I looked around the room, I saw our team members worshipping freely next to their newfound sisters in Christ with smiles on their faces and tears streaming down. It was as if everything our leadership team has shared with them clicked into place. The love we have for these people and this place, the calling we have here in Belize, and the need for programs just like this — it all made sense in that moment. We ended the first day with a raffle, and the prizes were Bath and Body Works lotions and soaps. The women had so much fun with this and were so excited about their prizes!
After the conference, Madison asked one of the women what she thought of the conference this year. The woman looked at her and said “Honestly? It’s even better than last year.” Thank you for being a part of making this happen and for making these women feel loved and seen this week. You’re a part of transforming lives. You’re a part of helping women meet Jesus. You’re a part of building His Kingdom.
Following our afternoon programming, we all naturally gathered in the shade under the massive trees at the school. Nothing organized and not a group conversation, but small one-on-one and heart-to-heart conversations about how God showed up in mighty ways.
Eventually we loaded up the bus and went on a field trip! If you follow us on Instagram, you already saw that our field trip was a trip to the store! We each picked out a treat to celebrate the first full day of programming. Everything from ice cream to Fanta and gatorade to cookies. When we got back to the hotel, we prepped our supplies for tomorrow before walking upstairs for dinner. Tonight’s dinner was spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, garden salad, carrot cake and sweet tea. What a meal! It was all amazing, but that carrot cake was out of this world! The conversations around the dinner table were full of joy – sharing about the incredible day we had.
After dinner, we gathered for worship and devos as a team. We sang More Than Able and Forever YHWH by Elevation Worship. Then, we had a joyfully tearful time of sharing God moments from the day. We each experience something different and saw God work in a fresh way. Getting to verbally proclaim these moments is so special for our team.
When we walked back into the hotel, Annamay’s daughter Shelika was waiting to greet us! This was such a sweet surprise because it has been years since we’ve seen her. For the last couple hours, several team members have been upstairs hanging out.
Today was such an incredible day, and was full of so much goodness. And to think it all started with a power outage… Our God is more than able. He does abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. He makes a way where it seems impossible. He is the difference maker. He’s faithful and so good. Rest in who He is.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Our hearts are so full!
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