Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Feels Surreal

So there is so much to update. This past week I served in a northern community called Carmelita. This week was going to have a group of fifteen participants, and was supposed to be super chill-a real easy week. Well, the day before the trip began, my trip leader Laura became very ill. She contracted Dengue fever (transmitted through mosquitoes). I got pretty scared, and beyond that I was physically exhausted, mentally exhausted, and emotionally drained. Laura ended up flying home the day the trip was to start. That meant that rather than assistant trip leading...I got a lot more responsibility. I don't know if I've ever really been so scared or felt so inadequate in my whole life. So many times that day, driving around Belize City I wanted to scream, "GOD! I can't do this! I don't want to do this! Someone else, God! I can't do this! I'm scared!" At the end of the first day, God spoke to me clearly.

"Be anxious for nothing."

This is a direct command from God. I couldn't worry about things. I would do my best to lead, to plan, to serve, to build, to work, but this is not about me. It has never been about me. It won't ever be about me. This is about God. All things to His Glory. He called me to have faith. And there is NO ROOM FOR SELFISH PRIDE in our faith. I had to believe him for so many things.

And I still have to.

That week, we ended up painting a church inside and out, doing a children's program at a community center, and made some of the most beautiful friendships with the locals. This village was engaged in seeing people taken care of. In having healthy lifestyles, good infrastructure, and giving youth a change to discover things that they are passionate about. I am humbled to have been present for the week. I am humbled that God saw fit to provide for our every need. Our every need.

It feels so surreal that all of my trips have been completed. It doesn't actually feel like I go home soon. I feel sort of like I'll be here forever. But I won't. It's strange. I have seen some of the most beautiful places here in Belize. But what I've seen is more of who my God is. God is so faithful. He is so trustworthy. He is so mighty. I am called to be faithful--i.e. full of faith. FAITH that God will provide for my every need, for my every breath. I'm torn about leaving here...but excited to see what God is doing at home.

But God still has more to do in Belize. I drove through the poverty alleviation projects tonight. While the song "Kingdom Come" by Hillsong was on my ipod. As I drove through streets of overcrowded lean-to's suffocated in waste, I was singing, "May Your kindom come, and your will be done, as we serve Your heart, serve Your heart....Lord, we long for more, long for more..."

That's how I feel. I long to see God in His power again and again and displayed on the streets of Belize, St. Louis, wherever. Wherever there is brokenness, His Kingdom should come.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wrapping Up

Hey all. So, I'm wrapping up my fifth trip here in Belize. This past week was intense. The team and I had the project of digging a seven by seven by seven foot hole to serve as the foundation for a bathroom behind a church. This would have been easily accomplished in three days, but for the fact that we were on a mountain. Mountains are made of rocks. Yes. Jackhammer. It was hot. But for me, this past week, the hole wasn't my big project.

I met this family this past week...five kids..Hilberto, Karina, Ricardo, Christina, and Orlando. And their mom, Catalina. Cati's husband just lost his job a while back. This family has nothing. The kids wore the same tattered clothes each day...but they were precious. For some reason they just took to me, and we became friends. I talked to Cati one day, and after some prodding, she shared with me her fears. She's afraid that she won't be able to pay for the kids schooling this fall. They have nothing, and she needs to buy uniforms. The kids aren't allowed to go school without uniforms. By the grace and goodness of God, we were able to pull together enough money so that all the kids can go to school this fall! I'm so excited. These were Cati's words: "I just want them to be able to read and write. I can't. My husband can't. I want them to read the Bible, and get a good job. And have a better life than this."

I gave the oldest boy, Hilberto, a Bible later. I've never seen a kid so attached, excited about, or proud of his bible. He wrapped it in a towel to bring it to church to keep in nice.

This was so good for me. People are so good. To touch them and know them. Trips can start to feel routine if all I focus on are the projects and logistics. But, when I sit with the people and know them, and listen...nothing can be routine...everything is suddenly full of pain and reality, and joy and hope. God is moving!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Catch Up

Hey all! I am SOOO sorry about the lack of an update here. I promise to give a full recap.

To begin--My third week trip in Libertad was one of the most intense trips. We did a VBS and home visits. We saw a very broken place. A place where there was a lot of substance abuse, and physical abuse of women and children. It was heart-wrenching. I met a woman named Diana. I and some others sat down with her at her home and made casual conversation. But then I asked her about her husband. She was disheveled looking, but had seemed proud of who she was, until I asked her about her husband. That's when her shoulders slumped, her eyes looked down and glossed over, and her breathing became weak...She went on to explain that her husband had been addicted to drugs for fifteen years and has left her to fend for herself and their eight children. She said she is exhausted, and wants to feel what she knows Christians feel, she said sometimes she cries to God to take her away from this life. Steven Inman got to share his testimony to her and give her hope for her husband. We got to talk to her about the love of God. And she expressed a real desire to come to Jesus. She didnt' want us to go. She just wanted us to be with her, to share in her struggles, and to love her. That's what compassion is--it means litterally, to suffer with. To truly identify oneself with the sufferings, oppression, distress, hurts of another. That's what Christ did.

Libertad was set ablaze. I saw young men--young men, hardened by the world of alcohal abuse and drugs--come to Jesus and hunger for his word. I saw a blind baby with a tumor on her neck who was abandoned by her mother receive nourishment thanks to the love of our group that week. I saw Jesus walk amongst Libertad.

After my time in Libertad, I moved to Red Bank, in the far south of Belize. Red Bank is a unique community in the mountains. They are Mayan! Still speak the language actually. One of the coolest moments of the week for me, was a day when I was helping the cooks prepare snacks or lunch or something. (Mind you, cooks cooking over open fire on the floor of thatched-roof hut. Oh yes, and did I mention the jaguars??) And, they wanted to teach me Mayan. I was shocked. A people so reserved, wanted to invite me into their speak their language. To talk with them, like them, be a part of them. I was touched. How often do I invite people into my world??

In Red Bank, we painted the inside and outside of a church, did VBS, and prayer minsitry. My team was amazing...God was growing them up in their faith for sure. But God was also convicting me of my own pride and sin in my life. I have so much more to learn. So must to let go of. I am not God, nor do I understand His ways. I am just a broken vessel...and it needs to be that way.

This week, I'm serving in another southern rural community called Armenia, but we're staying in Belmopan, the capital city. We are putting a ceiling on a church, and doing a lot of sports ministry. I'm excited to meet this community. I'm learning to be more and more open to the peopel I'm serving. They have so much to teach me.

I love and miss you all at home! Please pray for me to be receptive to God's truth in my life, and for me to have renewed strength and energy!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Preliminary Thoughts

So, I'm at the beginning of my third trip here. This week I'm in Corozal, which is far northern Belize. I'm leading in a village named Libertad. Completely non-coincidentally, my church, Liberty, is here this week. This trip is a lot different than others simply because it doesn't involve construction. It's all purely relational ministry. That being said, I sense that it's going to be an intense week. According to the pastor's wife in Libertad, it's a rough village, very poor. Drug use, alcohol use. Last night we held a church service in the village and man, the Spirit was there. I know...I know without a doubt that God wants to move this week. The village just feels dark. And we've got light. Last night during the service, people in the village just started gathering. As I stood in the back of the church (which is actually just a tarp...) I had this snapshot vision of what it was like when Jesus was just in homes talking with the disciples, and people started to come. I feel like Jesus had parts of his ministry that were holistic, dealing with the physical needs of people, but then other times it was about healing them spiritually, emotionally...I feel like that's our ministry this week. Pray for strength, and that we would all be in tune with the Spirit!

Friday, July 3, 2009


So! I am at the completion of my second trip. It was a very trying trip. We had three groups come together to complete a project. The weather was hot, the work was hard, and there were a lot of obstacles. Last night, I felt pretty dejected and exhausted...I hadn't been in the Word yet and so it was late, and everyone else was asleep but I knew I needed to just listen to God. As I opened my Bible, I read in John, in the last chapter, about the disciples having fished all night and caught nothing. I sort of felt like that. And then Jesus comes and tells them to cast their net again. AGAIN. Even after nothing all night. To cast the net again so that he can work. Only when we cast our net under his guidance and power, can we really do anything.

In regards to our progress, the roof on the church was a success and the yard for the parsonage got completely cleared. It was a mess tho! Our VBS resulted in some wonderful relationships with the kids. One little girl especially for me. Her name is Kiyana. She wrote me a note the last day, telling me how much she loved VBS and me. I was so humbled by her kindness and sweetness. I want to be kind and sweet like her. Like a child. She has a sister and they live in BZ city, and I'm going to try to visit her before I leave.

Another incredible thing that happenned last week--I was reunited with my family from last summer. Last summer my crew built a house for a family in the Poverty Alleviation Projects in BZ city, and I had been waiting to go see them because I was so nervous and afraid that they wouldn't remember me. But I went anyways. It took me a while to find the home...but I finally did. I pulled up and was really afraid. I looked around...everything looked the same, except the house we had built was decorated. But the shacks in shambles were still everywhere, trash and kids everywhere...but I got out of the car. Thoughts were racing thru my head. What if they don't remember me? This will be lame...but they did. The moment I stepped out of the car, the mother jumped up and ran to me and started crying. Then I started crying! She said that they missed me so much and they didn't think I would come back and that they talk about me all the time! Then her kids saw me and man...then the waterworks started. Vanessa, Jessica, and Marvelli...oh man. It was beautiful because we have a real relationship. I feel like I am part of their family. That's what missions is about. Growing the family of God. Teaching people to live in beautiful comunity together. It's hard. But reunions like matter how blubberingly tearful they are...make it worth it. God is at work.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


"Learn the lesson that, if you are to do the work of a prophet, what you need is not a sceptor but a hoe." -Bernard of Clairvaux

I am learning so much. It's kind of hard to process all of my thoughts. Before I came here, I really prayed and asked God to stretch me. I want to be made into the image of Christ and to live out God's love with every breath. I And he is definitely being faithful to answer my prayer. I am learning that I must rely on him more and more. And that to love means to serve and to labor. This week we are re-roofing a church, doing a VBS with the kids of Belize City, and clearning debris (hardcore!) from a yard behind the church where the pastor's house will be built.

I forgot how much I loved Belize city. Belize city is rough. But that's how it should be. The kids are loud, they're crazy, the push you, they test you. But every time they push me, the also love me. For everytime they disobey, they are forgiven. For everytime they cheat, they learn something. God redeems what we don't see a lot of value in. Putting on God's eyes is hard, because you see pain, but amazing because you see the way that God wants to redeem people and situations.

God is a God who redeems. He has redeemed me. But he redeems us for himself. For service.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Hello US! I hope that all of you are well!

I am sorry I have not updated sooner! The internet here in BZ can be a bit unreliable at times! ;-) So, I arrive in BZ at 3 in the afternoon on Thursday the 18th. I was so excited to be here. The air, the people, the way things are in BZ is just awesome. There is a huge emphasis on relationships with people. It's great. Thursday, immediately after flying in, I got a quick tour of certain parts of the country that I will be working in a lot. And man, oh man, the driving here is CRAZY. There are only four paved highways here...and road signs...yeah...there might be a few...I just haven't found them yet!

Friday, a church from the States donated money to purchase a motorbike for a family living in Red Bank in the south part of the country, a three hour drive south! So it was delivery time for us! I got to see the mountains and the rainforest which are just breath taking. But I also got to see several poorer, rural mountain communities. Heartbreak, coupled along with awe.

Saturday, I started my first trip. I am working with two other leaders and leading a group of 41 people. We are working in a small village called Crooked Tree! Yesterday, however, we took the group to do orphanage work, and elderly home work. The residents at both of the homes were blessed blessed blessed by us being there. he kids in the children's home just need love! And the elderly here, wow. What amazing stories they have to tell. We also were able to really help meet some needs with donations. Today we spend the day in the village, really just walking thru Crooked Tree getting to know everybody. It was awesome. We connected with the people and checked out our plans for the week. We will be teaching at a local school tomorrow. And then moving on to painting and construction projects coupled with children's programs in the afternoon! I'm so excited.

But let me tell you, I have been learning a LOT.

On my flight day, I spent a good seven minutes sprinting thru the Miami airport to find my INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT, because my previous flight was UBER delayed!!! AHHH! I was flipping out. But, guess what passage of Scripture I read that morning?? John 14:1-Do not let your hearts be troubled! Trust in God, Trust also in Me.

Today has SO many interesting learning opportunites. From broken buses, to my bed getting SOAKED (tropical rain...let me tell you...), to fire ant attacks... to poisonous fruits eaten by my group. Yes. I am learning to TRUST God. The people of Belize have been so welcoming and assuring. I just love them. And I am trusting God to show me how to love them even more.

I miss all of you in the States and I've been praying for you. Please keep prayign for me. Days are long anda lot of work. But God is good. Stuff happens. Nonetheless, TIB. This is Belize.