Even thought sunrise can be a very peaceful time here, there was a buzz of excitement about spending another worshipful Sunday with our long-time friends from The Evangelical Quest Church. As we all got ready for breakfast, missionaries were setting up chairs in the chapel - others embarked in the vans bound to pick up the locals from various villages. Tuning instruments could be heard as Melvin, (EQC's worship leader) and some new friends from San Ignacio began to get into their rhythms.
Anticipation soon gave way to the sounds of diesel engines coming down the road and we knew that many more hands and feet were about to inhabit our camp. Within minutes, hugs, kisses and well wishes spread throughout the chapel like wildfire and everyone began to get reacquainted.
Pastor German welcomed everyone to Camalote Camp and the praise music began to play.
The children of EQC could be seen in nearly every missionary's lap or holding our hands. Seeing how quickly our two worlds reconnect is one of the most beautiful testimonies to what God can do when He is at work.
As I mentioned, Melvin and some new friends from San Ignacio did an excellent job of leading worship and soon it was time for God's message to be delivered. I would like to thank John Kenney for his inspired sermon outline - expounding on the parable of the Sower from Mark 4: 1-20. (It made my first preaching assignment in Belize much easier and definitely more coherent than I could have imagined)
Once the service had concluded, our missionaries broke the congregation down into smaller groups of men, women and children. Travis Cain did an excellent job of leading the men's group and Vickie Veatch facilitated the women's independent study time. But by far, the most impressive group here was the children's group - which or course, had many many leaders! July Gray, Ron Hartshorn, Micheal Albright, Debbie Banks and more helped to lead these wonderful kids in song, coloring crafts and story time. This was next-generation ministry at it's best. These little ones were more well behaved than ever before. They listened intently as Ron and Diane Sheffield read bible stories, stayed on-task as the group colored images of Christ, and sang their hearts out as music time came. This respectful attitude can only be attributed to the hard work of Alice and German and the leaders of christian education at our sister church.
As we all finished our group lessons, the smell of tamales lingered from the camp kitchen.
Everyone lined up around the chapel quickly and we served 100 plates of food in minutes.
Vision of the afternoon to-come were soon dampened as storm clouds rolled in and we had to quickly load everyone back on the buses to get them home. What would have been our fun day at the river turned into a little extra R & R - but everyone spent time resting or getting to know each other a little better.
After dinner, we once again gathered in the chapel for circle time. And let me tell you this - God is moving in this team and in this place. Oh, yesterday was German's birthday so we all celebrated with chocolate cake!