Holy cow! What a day — an incredible, joyful, life-giving day. If there’s anything that’s been evident today, it’s that God has gone before us at every turn. From interactions with strangers to providing for our every need — His provision has been so apparent.
We started our day long before most of the world was awake. We met at the Richmond airport at 4:15AM. Many of our team members live 30+ minutes away from RIC, so the wake-up call was much earlier. Regardless of how early it was, our team showed up on time with smiles on their faces and ready to GO. Madison and Kelley gathered the team for fellowship while Amy and Taylor were at the Delta counter checking all 24 bags of ministry supplies. What we expected to cost over $600, we paid absolutely nothing for. The Delta employee that helped us was kind and patient as she stood and went through 20 passports and lifted all 24 crates of supplies.
While we were at the counter, a woman came up to the counter next to us and explained to another Delta employee that her husband had a medical emergency after they checked in and would need to cancel her tickets and retrieve her checked luggage. We’ve told our team all along that the Mission Experience starts as soon as we step foot in the airport. Amy asked if our team could gather to pray for them. The woman stood there with her two children by her side, tears filling her eyes, and said yes. We had the opportunity to pray for them and offer any support they might need since Richmond wasn’t home for them. We love that the Mission Experience with 28:19 Ministries cultivates missional living in everyday life. It’s so simple — saying yes to showing Jesus’ love to everyone we come in contact with, but the everyday distractions can keep us from responding to the call.
Once we got all of our bags checked and had our boarding passes in hand, team members and their families gathered in a circle to pray. We said our goodbyes and were on our way! We made it through the heavy security line quickly and smoothly and still had time to grab a coffee and a snack before boarding our plane. The energy that this team has had all day has been incredible. From 4:15AM to now, 19 hours later, the joy and excitement for this experience is only greater.
Our flight from Richmond to Atlanta was smooth and speedy. With a very short layover in Atlanta, we only had time to get from our arrival gate to our departure gate. Thankfully, there was a convenience store right next to our gate where we could grab a quick snack before boarding. At every stop today, we’ve added a team member. James joined us in Atlanta, and took our number of team members to 21. He greeted us with a smile and open arms at our departure gate!
We boarded our flight to Belize and met some other groups that would be serving with our partners, Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus, this week. We love getting to hear from other teams who have the same love and passion for the people of Belize as us.
Our flight to Belize was steady until the last 10 minutes when we flew through some heavy rain during our descent. When we landed in Belize, we grabbed our personal luggage and walked inside to get in line for immigration. The airport employees saw we were all in matching yellow shirts and let us all join the same line and approach the desk together. We were pushed past a massive crowd of people and got through so quickly! Again, God went before us.
After immigration, we gathered our checked baggage from the carousels. Every single one of the 24 crates of supplies made it to Belize! Not one was missing! Praising Jesus for this – each bin is full of purposeful, intentional material for our week. After gathering our bins, we joined the line for customs. They hand checked our bins, but we were on our way before we knew it!
After all of the lines, we gathered outside for a team photo and fellowship while we waited for our bus to arrive. We loaded up the bus with our bins and then enjoyed delicious homemade burritos and lime juice on our ride to the village. We had another group of 9 join us for the bus ride. They’ll be serving alongside Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus this week. We dropped them off at the campground before the final leg of our journey to the village. It was about a two hour bus ride from the airport to the village, and our driver Miguel made sure we got to our final destination safely. Normally this bus ride is silent because everyone is ready for a nap, but there was so much joyful conversation and singing happening the entire time. Like I said, the energy today has been unmatched.
When we arrived at the village, it was like arriving home. We’ve been in relationship with the people here for over a decade now. This is our 11th trip to this village in Belize, and each time we return is more joyful than the last. There’s investment here — it’s family and it’s home. At this final stop of the day, we added our final team member, Daniela, for a grand total of 22 team members. Daniela is the niece of our gracious hosts, Annamay and Rodwell. In years past, Daniela has worked at the hotel while we’ve been here. This year, she will serve alongside our 28:19 Ministries team. We are so excited to have her as a member of our team this year!
Once we said hello to Hez and Daniela, we formed an assembly line all the way from the bus to the second floor of the hotel. We unloaded all of our supplies and luggage before gathering to take our final team photo of the day — one with all 22 of us! Being together for the first time in the same room felt surreal. The preparation that has gone into making this Mission Experience a reality has been great, but the reward of getting to see the fruits of each person’s labor is greater.
We assigned each team member their room number and got to take a few minutes to freshen up before meeting on the rooftop for a welcome meeting. We went over some expectations and got to explain where everything is. Our team got to meet so many of the people they’ve heard about in team meetings for the last 6 months.
Our welcome meeting was followed by a delicious dinner — chicken quesadillas, fruit punch, and cold cake. One of the perks of staying here is having the opportunity to purchase a soda to have at mealtime. A few team members enjoyed them tonight!
After dinner, we had a few minutes to freshen up before gathering for worship and devo time. This is how we will end every day in Belize. While our programming each day is so important, we really value the discipleship that happens within our team.
We gave each team member a “GO Bag” that has supplies they’ll find useful throughout the week. From a loofah to a journal to pepto bismol, it’ll become useful at some point this week. We are so grateful that a small group at our partner church, Heights Church, collected and donated the supplies so each team member would feel loved on from the moment they arrived in Belize!
We started our devo time by reading Matthew 4:18-25 and talking about it as a large group. There was so much that we could pull from this passage in response to what God has called us to do this week through our programming. We are expectant and ready to GO! We did two worship songs – Move Your Heart by Maverick City and Gratitude by Brandon Lake. This time of worship was so beautiful. After so many hours of traveling – seeing our team lift their hands in worship was so beautiful. Since we have such a large team this year, we split up into small groups for discussion time and God sightings from the day. This intentional worship and devotion time is always one of the highlights of the Mission Experience for our team members.
Once we finished devo and worship, it was finally time for some rest. All of our team members are showered and cozy in bed after a long day of travel. We’re so excited to hit the ground running tomorrow! Thank you so much for your prayers throughout the day. God’s presence has been so evident. We’re all so grateful to be a part of this experience and know we will continue to bear witness to His majesty throughout the week.
Thank you for following along! We’ll update again tomorrow evening!
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