Thank God for using our Belize short term mission team between July 26th and August 3th, 2017.
3 weeks ago, the youth missions team left to Belize for a two week missions trip.
January of this year, the youth group teachers, Augustine, Sarah, Grace and I were thinking about a missions trip for the youth. After praying and looking for where God wanted to send us, we decided on Belize, which pastor Jacob had recommended.
So in February, we had our first missions team meeting where we discussed the expectations and the commitment of going on the missions trip. Since then, we met on a weekly basis, sharing life testimonies, preparing Vacation Bible School, coming up with fundraiser and doing the fundraisers, learning to teach instruments, and etc. But the main focus of these meetings were prayer and worship, so that we wouldn’t lose sight of the purpose of the missions trip. Each member of the missions team shared about God’s calling for them to go to Belize. And if God was telling us to go, we wanted to go with expectations that He would do great things.
So today, you’ll get to hear some of the great things that God had done during our Belize Missions trip.
Start of our missions trip:
Our missions trip officially started at 3:30 am on Wednesday, July 26th at our church. We had two flights (DCA –> Atlanta and Atlanta –> Belize) and thank God, we didn’t run into any issues getting to Belize. However getting past customs at the Belize airport was another story. Only after waiting to get to the front of the customs line, we realized that our team members under 16 years old needed a parental consent letter to go through. So after an hour and a half of working with the little internet connection we had and waiting for the parents to respond, we were able to all get through customs.
Outside, Msn. Moses and Sarah, Dillon and Aaron were waiting for us. From there we visited Belize UBF and settled our things at a dormitory owned by the Assembly of God church. This was where we were going to stay majority of the time. For the rest of the day, we prepared VBS that would start on Day 3. The last thing we did as a team every night (apart from the Belize Summer Bible Conference) was to worship, pray, and talk about how each person was doing. In the evenings, Luke led praise and we prayed for physical discomfort from mosquito bites, sand fly bites, sweat rashes, the heat, and allergies. While we had many things to pray for, these were the times when I personally was encouraged the most. Just as we will hear from each of the missions team members today, these prayer meetings were when we could share about how God was working through each of us during our missions trip. Every morning we had our devotions for an hour. John led praise and then we broke off to have quiet time. And thanks to Sarah Lee Park, who prepared it for us, we each had a devotional booklet that helped us start every morning in prayer. Just to give you an idea of prices in Belize, our favorite authentic Belizean breakfast place cost between $1 – $1.50 per sandwich.
And in the evenings, we walked to Belize UBF (which is also where Msn. Sarah and Moses lives), approximately half a mile walk where we ate dinner with Belize UBF where sometimes, Dillon, Aaron, Lindie, Dianell, Shanelle, and Melanie. We also played games with them afterwards (the board game, “Sorry,” and the physical game, “ninja”)
DAYS 3 – 5: VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
The theme of our VBS was “The Father’s Love” and it was broken into three parts so we broke off into 3 groups and each group led a day. First group, consisting of Rebekah, Luke, and Grace Chun was about the Creation and about how God created us because He loved us. The second group was John, Ashia, and myself on the Prodigal Son to teach about the Heavenly Father that loves us even when we sin and eagerly waits for us to come back to him. The third group, with Grace Seo, Joy, David, and Augustine was about Jesus’ death and resurrection to teach about the love of Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. They all worked very hard in preparing and leading the VBS.
The Vacation Bible School (VBS) was at a village called Carmelita which was 90 minutes away (by bus) and was going to be from 9 am – 12 pm. Immediately after getting off the bus, there was really nothing much around. Pushing and carrying our VBS supplies while walking on unpaved roads, we would meet many children of the village. And every morning in front of the church where we had VBS, there would be kids waiting for us when we arrived. The first day we had 64 children and around that for the second and third day. The Pastor of that church that we worked with, Pastor Marisol told us about the children and how they face domestic abuse, sexual assault and violence (we’re talking adults fighting with machetes).
I’m proud of everyone in the missions team that loved on the children as they spent time with them. During the 3 days of VBS, we asked the children to come up if they wanted a relationship with God. One boy and one girl came up. One of the highlights of the missions trip for me was praying with the girl that came up named Kylee. As I was leading Kylee to a prayer, I could feel how much love God has on these children. Even though there are many terrible things that these kids are seeing every day, I have faith in God who will guide and protect the ones he love.
The 3 days of VBS went by very quickly and at the end of the third day it was not easy to say goodbye to the kids.
The 3rd day of the VBS was a Sunday. So we stayed after VBS and attended the adult service at the same church. There, Ashia shared her life testimony and Augustine gave his message (as Pastor Marisol translated in Spanish). The missions team also got to perform their Lifehouse skit (this was their second time, first during VBS, and there would be 2 more later).
During that whole time God was active. After Aug’s message, we got to pray for people. One lady recommitted her life to Christ and mentioned that her family members were not Christians. Another lady said her lungs hurt and after prayer, she said it was much better. We also prayed for Pastor Marisol who had an ear infection and couldn’t hear well out of her left ear. After prayer, she could hear much better from her left ear and she shared with everyone how her ear was miraculously healed.
Video by Caleb Kim
DAY 6: MAYAN RUINS
Photos by Grace Chun
DAYS 7-8: VISITED THE CECILIA ELDERLY HOME
Most of our planning was on the VBS so many of us didn’t know what to expect when we first went to the elderly home on the 7th and 8th day. At first it was kind of awkward to be there but it was a pleasant surprise.
We sang worship songs, shared testimonies of God’s goodness, performed the dance and the lighthouse skit, had many meaning conversations with the elderly and got to pray over them. Sometimes it was difficult to understand what they were saying but the missions team really loved on them and were patient with them. Personally I got to speak with a man named Valentine that was from my memory 82 years old. I was encouraged as we spoke about the bible and how he reads his Bible every day. He told me about his loneliness and how he felt like he was placed there just to wait for his death. When I prayed for him, he told me he felt much lighter as he shrugged his shoulders up and down.
DAY 9: PREPARATION FOR THE BELIZE SUMMER BIBLE CONFERENCE
Days 10 – 12: THE BELIZE SUMMER BIBLE CONFERENCE
Around 43 people attended the Summer Bible Conference. We are very thankful for the many moms of the Belize students who took their time to cook for us every meal. We had 4 messages and what’s different but which I enjoyed was the Bible Studies we had before every message. A lot of us were blessed to spend time with everyone.
On day 12, Sunday, we went to a water taxi after dropping off conference equipment back at Belize UBF. We took the afternoon water taxi which took us to San Pedro.
On Wednesday Afternoon, all the missions team, including myself went to the airport. But as most of you know, I didn’t get to go on the flight back with them. I realized I couldn’t get into the United States without my green card so after delaying my flight to Saturday (because that’s how long it would take for my expedited shipment of my green card would arrive). Friday rolls around and I opened the shipment with excitement to find that what I was sent wasn’t my greencard. Now I’m really concerned because I need to get back to work on Monday and there doesn’t seem to be a possible way for me to get on my Saturday flight. Thankfully Augustine came up with an idea and contacted Mary. The plan was to have Mary fly over to Belize with my Green Card on Saturday morning and to meet me at the airport with just enough time for me to get on my flight for that afternoon. Thank God because it all worked out and as you can see in the next pictures, I was able to leave!
Also, the missions team really appreciates Mary who put in her time and dealt with the stress of teaching us the skit and the dance. Many hours of preparations and teaching went into it.
And I’m very thankful to Missionary Sarah and Aaron’s mom who prepared us dinner every night and everyone’s hospitality while we were there. Even though we went to serve as a missions team, I’m humbled by the way people had served us during our stay. God is really working and active and I’m truly blessed to have gone on this missions trip.