Good morning from our last full day in Belize!
I have had the best of intentions on updating you guys, but the jungle isn’t cooperating. I’ve been fighting with the internet every night to try and post the blog. Here’s the blog from the last couple of days…. take 3!
On Wednesday we had a really great day jam packed full of stuff. It was market day, and we headed to the market first thing for an authentic Belizean breakfast. Eggs, beans, fry jacks and freshly squeezed juice. Everyone really enjoyed it, and we had a chance to wander around the market a bit and buy some souvenirs.
After breakfast we headed straight to the old King’s Children’s Home. For those of you who do not know the story of King’s, it was only a little over a year ago that these kids were living under very different circumstances. Right now they are living in a huge and beautiful facility about 20 min outside of the Belmopan city limits. A little over a year ago they were still at their old house, which is right in Belmopan and is smaller than the houses that you and I live in. There were about 75 kids living in a tiny little house. Up to a dozen kids sharing a room. Eating in a kitchen that was made up of one stove, one small stretch of counter, and a sink, sharing one bathroom. It was incredibly small, but it was home. It was a safe place for so many kids who needed it. Miss Leonie raised over 500 kids in that home. It is such an interesting experience to take a team for a tour of the house. The new KCH is nice and big, but it doesn’t feel too big. It is the right size for the 100 kids who live here. So after spending a week here, going back to see where all of these kids grew up is kind of shocking. But it is so obvious to all of us that the old home is special. We spent about 40 minutes just walking around in silence. Going from room to room, imagining what it was like when all of our little friends lived there. God has provided in such a tangible way for these kids, giving them a home that is safer, bigger, and better for them. But He was also faithful in providing that love filled tiny house where they grew up. It has been empty for over a year, but we were still able to feel the love that the kids had for that place. It is always an emotional experience for me to go back to that home. That’s where I watched all of these kids grow up. Some of my very best memories in life were within those 4 walls. For those of you reading who have been down to Belize, I’m sure you can close your eyes and picture what it was like to sit out on the playground, or have devotions with all the kids in that tiny little living room. There are some amazing memories in that place, and it was so powerful to be able to share a little bit of that with this team.
After our teary visit to the home, we grabbed a quick lunch at YWAM and a quick ice cream come at Spanish Lookout (a nearby Mennonite community) and headed to a small village called Unitedville to lead a Kids Club there. There is just something about the kids in that place. We were only there for about 3 hours, but some of the team were close to tears when we had to say goodbye. They are fantastic kids, and we became instant friends. We played on the playground for a while, then Sarah, Bobbi, Jackson, and Taylor and Taryn did an amazing job of leading some fun songs with the kids. About half of the team was involved in acting out a Bible story (Jesse was Jesus, seemed like a good fit with the hair), and then Sarah, Taryn, Brett and Taylor each shared a little bit of their testimony with the group. It was awesome to watch the team step up and take leadership. They have some serious talent!
After Kids Club we headed to San Ignacio for supper at an awesome restaurant called Hode’s, which is located right in the middle of an orange orchard. Such good food, such amazing smells!
When we got home we surprised everyone with a little impromptu tarantula hunt. I know… hunting tarantulas… sounds crazy right? I promise you we were safe. We had a fun time, and believe it or not everyone held one! (except for Bobbi and Adonica, who opted for an early bed time instead). There’s just something about the jungle that makes you want to face your fears. We have some epic pics to prove our bravery!
Yesterday we good a day off and headed out to the islands to experience a little of Belize’s awesome tourism. We charted a boat out to Caye Caulker, and went snorkelling. We got to swim with sharks! At our second snorkelling sight we first got in the water with about 15 nurse sharks and about 10 sting rays. It is always a huge highlight for me to swim with these amazing animals, and everyone did so well! There was very little squealing and screams. It takes a minute to get used to be surrounded by so many big animals in the water, but it’s truly an incredible experience. On our boat right back to the mainland we were met by a family of dolphins. Our captain turned the boat off, and they came right up to us and swam around and beneath our boat for about 5 minutes. It was without a doubt one of the most amazing and majestic things I’ve ever seen. There are rarely days that are as awesome as yesterday was.
Today we are just finishing up the work project on our last day at KCH. The house is done, expect for the zinc roofing and the team worked really hard today to pour a cement foundation for some more housing. We are feeling accomplished, and enjoyed some cooler weather today as we worked. We are eagerly awaiting the school bus to pull up so we can spend a few more hours with our friends before we leave for the last time. Today is tough. Leaving here is very hard, and I know it will be an emotional night for us.
Some prayer requests:
-Kim is feeling a bit better. Her stomach issues haven’t disappeared though, so please continue to pray for her. Her spirits are up, and she’s feeling happy. It would just be great if her stomach was back to 100%.
-Terry’s tooth pain has gone from a 9 down to a 1. He woke up this morning in very minimal pain (just more of an annoyance) and he decided not to go to the dentist today. He is still feeling good, and was able to work hard all day. We’re hoping the pain subsides until he can get back to Canada and get it looked at.
-I just received word that Miss Leonie is out of surgery, and things went well. Please pray for her continued healing, and that she can make a speedy recovery and has no further health issues.
-pray for our hearts. They will undoubtably break a little bit today. Pray that we can leave here knowing that we have been a blessing and made a difference in these kids lives. Pray that the goodbyes go ok.
-The team has done an incredible job, but I know that many of us are feeling tired. It has been a long week! Pray for us as we leave tomorrow to head into our weekend at debrief. That we can get the rest we need, and be ready to process the things we have learned from our incredible experience in Belize.
I cannot even thank you enough for ALL of your kind words and encouragement. I feel like we have created a community here, and you are a part of us. I know you are feeling the joy, sadness, tears with us. Thank you for that. It is so good to know that we are not alone. Last night we watched your video messages and handed out your letters to the team. It was an incredible reminder of the love and support we have at home, especially after spending a week with kids who have not been blessed with a family in the same way that we have. We love you all, and we are still standing today because of your prayers and support.
The bus just pulled up, and I have some kids to hug!
With much love and gratitude,
Kristin and the kids