Greetings to all of you who have been following the Quest missionaries in Belize. We are well and working hard, although several of our team have been a bit ill. Also, due to several technology snafus, we have been unable to post pictures or movies from the past two days.
We will be attempting to update the blog with images of the last 48 (AMAZING) hours of our mission work.
Please pray that God will continue His blessing upon our trip - as it has been a profound experience.
WOW! The amount of beds and blankets being made are absolutely outstanding! It has been wonderful to be able to see everyone's faces, adults as well as children. On my way to community group on Monday, I heard a song on the radio which has not left me since. It is by Audio Adrenaline and it is called Kings and Queens. Here are the lyrics:
Little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me Will we leave behind the innocent too brief On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun These could be our daughters and our sons And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating I know my God won’t let them be defeated Every child has a dream to belong and be loved
Chorus: Boys become kings, girls will be queens Wrapped in Your majesty When we love, when we love the least of these Then they will be brave and free Shout your name in victory When we love when we love the least of these When we love the least of these
Break our hearts once again Help us to remember when We were only children hoping for a friend Won’t you look around these are the lives that the world has forgotten Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open
If not us who will be like Jesus To the least of these If not us tell me who will be like Jesus Like Jesus to the least of these
Boys become kings, girls will be queens Wrapped in your majesty When we love, when we love the least of these Then they will be brave and free shout your name in victory We will love we will love the least of these We will love the least of these We will love the least of these
Thank you Father that through you, boys will become kings and girls will be queens wrapped in your majesty when we love the least of these!!! Thank you for our team and the amazing work they are doing for your glory. As the days go by, please give them the physical strength to complete the tasks set out by you. When they feel tired and exhausted, I pray that they will turn to you to rejuvenate their bodies and their spirits. Wrap your arms around them and hold them tight only to let them go again to do your will. Thank you for all of the changed hearts and lives. Thank you for allowing our team to be a part of those decisions being made. Father I pray that no one will come back unchanged from this trip - Americans and Belizeans alike.
Here are the videos from Day 3 and 4 if you missed them on Facebook:
After our first day of team projects, Tuesday morning saw our missionaries moving at a slightly slower pace. Once breakfast ended, however, everyone kicked it into high gear once again. The women's group took another approach to their blanket production, as ladies used smaller squares of fabric to produce patchwork-type designs.
This allowed groups of women to spend more time together at the table, talking and bonding with each other.
It truly is great to see multiple generations working together.
These women come from a variety of villages, and it is obvious that if it were not for activities such as this,
they may never get the chance to expand their sense of community.
The ladies also enjoyed a lunch and lesson hour, talking about issues they might be dealing with in their current lives and inspiring them to give these problems over to the Lord.
Outside Camalote Chapel, our men stepped up their production of beds. Asa and Mac, pictured above, are clearly the two hardest working and most efficient team among our group.
Another two-man team, comprised of Ray Brown and Ron Harsthorn, began production on one of the outhouses. They have done an excellent job and we all can't wait to deliver these to some deserving families.
Of course, as with any project of this nature, a bit of comic relief always works it's way into the day's story.
During the men's lunch hour, Ron and his team of skit characters re-enacted the scene when David slew Goliath. As he told of the sins of king David, Ron used this pole to illustrate the sins of modern man.
After a long day of fabrication, the men loaded 20 beds on a trailer that will be hauled to a village called Red Bank - a more traditional Mayan village in the southern part of the country. By the way, in the last two days, our men have built 63 beds!
Once again, Nina Reynolds and her team gave an outstanding effort in providing care for the children of families attending our camp.
Although babies were crying for most of the day, older children seemed to behave well and enjoyed snacks and crafts in our make-shift nursery.
Above, Donna Sarsfield takes time to care for one of the smallest babies in our group.
I must admit, nap time is the most adorable part of serving in this children's ministry.
These little ones are simply beautiful.
Erwin Canti, son of Jennifer, has been in several blog photos already. But here is a photo that shows how we sometimes care for him. Heather correctly and bravely (yet awkwardly) utilizes a "Mayan Sling". This is nothing more than a sheet tied and hung over the forehead. Mayan women then have their hands free to go about the activities of their day.
I was walking through the courtyard at the end of the day and found several of our missionaries taking advantage of "hammock time". Everyone worked so diligently today and some R and R was very much in need.
Our day ended with Tuesday night worship with our sister church - and as always, it was a crowded house. I will update the blog with some photos of that time shortly.
What day is this? Oh, yea - it's Monday. Many of us feel as though we have been here for a week already, and yet today was the first day of actual mission team work. We were so very inspired to have about 20 Belizean women and 6 men to join our group projects.
The women's group took advantage of the large chapel area to set up sewing stations for making fleece blankets. Large tables draped in bright, multicolored fabric were spread all throughout the room. These ladies began to work fast and spent the morning and afternoon cutting, tying and folding over 100 yards of fleece. The over-arching message behind making the blankets is to share the fruits of our labors - and these women will get a chance to give the blankets to other families in their village.
During lunch, Quest's missionary women led a discussion that would allow Belizean women to have an opportunity for personal testimonies and faith sharing. Our team was surprised by how few material things these woman have and yet they know scriptures very well and strongly feel the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Heather Thomas went so far as to say, "it felt like they were missionaries to us".
It has been a blessing to see how God has changed many their lives. Last year, Forrest Page and others led a young Mayan girl to accept Christ - right on the front porch of Camalote Camp. Her mother and grandmother are the women we buy our crafts and souvenirs from. This family showed up once again to offer their wares for sale. But this time, they are more excited about sharing the love of the Lord - mostly by
their testimonies of recent baptisms, home cell-groups and church worship.
Just outside the chapel, QC and EQC men set up under Austin's wood shop and began making the first of many beds. Travis Cain and Asa High teamed up to help us develop the bed template and then conveyed instructions to the group. Within an hour or so, saws were screaming, drills were turning and wood was being assembled.
Everyone talked about how good it felt to get busy and get our hands dirty - and all worked safe.
When we broke for lunch, Micheal Albright led one of our "lunch lessons" - sharing the story of Moses.
Several men offered personal testimonies and we are hoping that our Belizean brothers will be inspired to open their hearts as we work together this week.
Believe it or not, our men's group assembled over 25 beds today! We will continue tomorrow and we have decided to add another project - building a few outhouses with scrap lumber.
It's getting late and I am running quite low on sleep, but I simply must share this story.
When the Belizean woman showed up for their project day, so did their children. Now, we had prepared for a few kids - just not 14! Nina Reynolds was leading the kids care team and had to make a call to the "bullpen" for additional nursery workers.
So a schedule was created to include another woman and one man from the men's group. We rotated in for one-hour intervals so that people didn't become overwhelmed. Needless to say, the first few hours of "Camp Cry, Scream and Runaway" were tough. Especially for fellas. :)
p.s. I have had several emails asking if we are checking responses to the blog - and the answer is "yes".
We are all in love with the stories and pictures being shared with us. The videos on the Facebook page are moving and give us all a chance to experience a small part of this trip. For those of you that do not have Facebook, here is the link to the 2 videos they have posted:
I wish I had a video camera at Quest Church on Sunday to record your family members and friends talking so proudly about each one of you. Many had read the blog post and watched the video. Many who have been in the past became home sick. Many of us wish we were there with you. Most of all we are excited to see what God is doing in Belize!!
As we watch the videos, we cannot help but see the joy in your faces! May the joy of the Lord be your strength in the coming days!
Specific prayers for:
strength as you begin to build beds
words from the Holy Spirit as you build and strengthen relationships with the men and women
rest for tired bodies
open eyes to see the opportunities God has set before you
Wow, it is truly amazing how well we all sleep on our first night in camp. Being awake and in-travel for nearly 24 hours really requires us to recharge our batteries. However, the sun rose over Camalote around 5:30 am Sunday morning and lifted spirits in anticipation for a day of worship and fellowship with our sister church.
As many Belizean children and families stepped off the bus and into Camalote Chapel, everyone began getting reacquainted with each other. Our missionaries dispersed among the congregation and ,soon, no one could tell where Quest began and Evangelical Quest ended.
Wes Roberts, Melvin (EQC's Worship Leader), Mike Freace, Vania Gallardo and Noah Cruz led our service in an acoustic style, playing songs like God of this City. Wes was very proud of being able to witness how well Melvin, Vania and Noah played together.
Noah has been very passionate this weekend and that excitement came out through his play on the percussion box. Our service was special, yet short today - as EQC normally uses Sunday as a time of scriptural lessons and breakout-groups.
After worship, Little Victor didn't waste any time with chit-chat and climbed into the lap of Nina Reynolds. Kids flocked to Quest missionaries, talking about everything from pen pal letters to what missionaries did not come. For those of you on our most recent April mission, your impact on these children during "Camp-God-Rocks" continues to resonate in their hearts - please know this. They were very well behaved and listened attentively to instructions. I think credit is due, in large part, to the love of one woman - Vickie Veatch!
We had to include this photo of Mike Freace and little Erwin (Evan) Canti. He was born to Jennifer about a month after our April departure. Please continue to pray for this family, especially as Jennifer continues to do well in school. She is a very bright and beautiful young lady.
The men of Quest and EQC came together for a break-out bible study and discussion that centered on the life of Joshua. As most of you know, our theme this week is Joshua 24:15 - "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord". We feel that building stronger husbands, fathers and community leaders is vital to our continued mission here in Belize. The women conducted a similar discussion, gathering in the dining hall with nearly 30 ladies participating.
During the adult sessions, Julie Gray and her assistants divided children into 4 large groups and made crafts together. Wes and Melvin helped to lead the groups in song to kick off the event. The theme of this time spoke about the Good Samaritan. Kids got to make cross necklaces for themselves and they had to make a cross decoration to be given to someone else. Again, Vicky would have been proud of both the organization and behavior of EQC kids.
Stomachs were rumbling as the smell of tamales, nachos and watermelon drifted from the kitchen. Everyone was excited to grab a plate of food and a chair and enjoy a great meal together. Once again, our kitchen team did an amazing job with preparations. Much respect is always due to Delli and Myrna from Camalote Camp.
Michael Albright was the official "plate-hander-outer". He touched nearly every meal that was served.
It was a blessing to take this photo - as Alice Gallardo and Shauna Kenney (our pastor's wives) share a quiet moment of conversation. I trust that the Lord will truly bless this time for two women who work so very hard to keep both ministries living and breathing.
As the day continued, guess what? Yes, we all went to Rivera for an afternoon at the river. Surprisingly, it was still low - given the nature of the rainy season. I must admit that it was just a bit colder, though.
The "German Shepherd" thrives on these outings. We all know that he passionately loves the children of this country and enjoys providing much-needed relaxation and family fun.
This photo almost says it all. Jessica Bolyard leads the "three graces" across the running water. I think I have heard her name called by children more than any other in the past two days.
For those of you have met Adriana, please meet Jeremiah. Ray Brown got to hold this 3-month old
(yes, three months) as many of our group socialized along the river bank. Notice Ray is using both hands - this little man weighs as much as some 2 year-olds. We are glad to see that mother and son are doing well.
And last, but definitely not least - check out his photo. Ida Canti , Jennifer's sister, grabbed my camera yesterday during time between service and lunch. I was a bit nervous because these children occasionally have little regard for expensive equipment - but then I forgot she had it. As I was setting up to blog, I stumbled across this photo that I simply love. For those of you familiar with the Mayan culture, mothers typically carry their infants in a sling that hangs from their forehead and drapes across their back. Well, now you have a peek inside Jennifer Canti's sling - as little Erwin takes his nap.
Betsi, you would be so proud of her. Please know that you
are still the first name she whispered when we arrived. :)
Greetings from always-beautiful Belize! The Quest Belize Mission Team arrived in Belize City at 11:30am this morning and was welcomed by many members of our sister church, EQC. Pastor German Gallardo and his family and friends were excited to see us once again. We loaded our baggage onto "Big Bird" ( EQC's 63 passenger bus) and headed over to have lunch on the ocean-side boardwalk in Belize City.
On the drive through the city, many friends got the chance to become reacquainted. (Travis and Carlito)
Once down by the water, Alice and several others served the most delicious homemade chicken tortillas with fresh veggies, cheese and salsa. The weather is much cooler than our recent April trip and we all enjoyed stretching our legs after a long morning of travel.
In true missionary fashion, intermittent bus complications required attention during our lunchtime festivities. (As I type, I can feel the laughter erupting from those who have been on these trips before!) This is truly what flexibility is all about. :)
Again, we can't say enough about Alice and the ladies who prepared our wonderful picnic lunch. Wes Roberts, our fearless worship leader, showed his passion for our Belizean meal with this expressive
"chomp". Jessica Bolyard then grabbed her meal and quietly slid just out of his reach.
The bus continued to delay our trip towards Belmopan. But Ron Hartshorn and Noah Cruz didn't appear to mind - it seemed like they talked for two hours. This reunion is truly a work of the Lord.
As we pulled into Camalote Camp, Owner Ray Jordan and Manager Austin Lopez met us with open arms. Many of our returning missionaries commented that they felt as if they had returned home again. Those new to the Belize experience spent time getting acquainted with the picturesque grounds and facilities.
Our meal this evening was a special time together, as we celebrated German's birthday. Stewed chicken, rice and beans, fried plantains and cole slaw were enjoyed by all. And everyone grabbed a big piece of birthday cake.
Quest missionaries ended their first day with "circle time". This gave us all a chance to come together and share our thoughts on the day's events and to pray about what will come throughout the week.
We're John & Shauna, the parents of 4 kids (yes - we're outnumbered). We're trying to intentionally have GREAT FAMILY NIGHTS with our kids in order to help them learn and live some things we feel are so important. Our desire is to share ideas in order that you might have some GREAT FAMILY NIGHTS, too!