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. :)