We're Coming Home . . .

Hello faithful readers! Here it is... my last blog post of Project Serve 2016. It is so very hard to believe that this experience is nearly over, and we are on our way home. It feels like we have been gone forever, and it also feels like we just left Saskatoon. Today is a tough day to process... coming back home to our culture and friends and family. We were only in Belize for 10 days, but it changed us and now we are faced with bringing all these experiences and lessons back home with us. 

We had a really great weekend debriefing. Omar lead us through some very practical and helpful exercises and conversations. We were able to verbalize what we learned, what has changed, and how we feel about heading home today. We were also able to spend a lot of time worshipping, praying together, and enjoying each others' company. It was time so very well spent, and I'm so thankful for the chance to talk through the things we did. I feel like we are much more ready to come home now, ready to face the next steps and chapters that God has for us. 

We arrive tonight on West Jet flight 3276 arriving tonight at 12:15am. We are excited for some hugs and encouragement from you guys, and I'm SURE that you are excited to see us as well!! 

And lastly, we honestly can't thank all of you enough for the support you have shown us through this experience. We were able to have this experience because of your help and support. It was a gift to us from you, and we are deeply thankful and forever changed. For everything you have contributed, all the prayers, the excitement you've shared, the proud moments, words of encouragement through letters and videos. ALL of it. We are thankful and humbled and grateful. 

Singing off, 

Kristin, Corwin, Renee, Alison, Sarah, Jaima, Erin,

Calista, Maycie, Sofia, Justine, Hannah, and Brielle. 

Debriefing

Hello friends and family! We made it to LA safe and sound this morning, and had a great day of sessions and rest. We loved our fancy plane this morning, it really was fun. And we arrived at our hotel by 11am, so it wasn't too much of a delay. It was a long day because we were up early to catch our flight, but we're headed to bed now and I feel like today was meaningful, reflective and also really fun. We had two sessions today with our friend Omar, who lived in Belize as a missionary for 10 years and now lives with his family in the States. Omar knows so much about what it's like to leave Belize, process through a trip like this, and pin point what God has taught us. He had many wise words to share with us today, and it was a super encouraging time. 

The girls are just coming in from a soak in the hot tub, and we're heading to bed. Tomorrow we'll have 2 more sessions with Omar and some more down time to hang out and rest up. 

Be praying for us as we continue to process the things we've learned, and the next steps to take. It won't be long and we'll be back home! Looking forward to seeing all of you really soon. 

Thanks for checking in! 

Houston We Have a Problem!

We had a little hiccup last night with our flight from Houston to Los Angeles. Upon our arrival in Houston we were informed that our next flight was cancelled due to mechanical issues.  Thankfully United was able to rebook us for an early flight this morning.  The team was quite excited about being put up at a hotel for night, getting to sleep in their very own comfy bed, having a hot shower, and receiving $20 in meal vouchers for the hotel and airport!  As a bonus blessing, we were booked on United's newest and most luxurious aircraft: the Dreamliner!  This thing is really beautiful, and quite massive. We even got upgraded to Plus seats!  So all in all, this bump in the road turned out to be full of unexpected blessings.  We are in the air right now, we'll be LA by 9am. We are excited to get to hotel and begin our debrief sessions!  Thanks for your prayers and support!

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So Much to Catch Up On!

Hello faithful readers! I'm so sorry for the lack of posts in the last 2 days! They were JAM packed and busy, and I just didn't get the chance to write. But this morning I'm sitting in the office at the Kid's Home while the girls are sitting and waiting for the rain to pass so they can head back to work. 

SO! Where to begin. On Tuesday we filled our day with fun, starting out with breakfast at the local market. A typical Belizean breakfast consists of eggs, beans, fry jacks (deep fried dough), a piece of stewed chicken and a tall glass of fresh squeezed juice. Everyone really loved it. After breakfast we did a bit of shopping around the market, and then we got a chance to take a tour of the old Children's Home. For those of you who don't know the history of the home, it used to be located right in the middle of the city of Belmopan. Now they are living in a beautiful, huge facility about 20 min. from Belmopan in the country. There is plenty of space for everyone, it's very safe, and there is room for the kids to run. The old home is incredibly small... smaller than the average family home in Saskatoon. And it housed about 70 children. It's good to visit the old home to gain some perspective of where most of these kids have grown up. The old home is small, but it's also holds a certain beauty. I love to go back and visit, walk the halls and think of all the amazing memories I've had there and how it was such a safe and loving home for kids in need. So it was great to share some of those memories with the team, and allow them a little window into the past. From the old home we walked over to get another Cholis (while we waited for our van to get boosted... a very common occurrence on this trip). We headed back to YWAM for lunch and another little swim in the river, and then took off for the Kids Club in Unitedville (about 30 min. from the YWAM base). The Kids Club is run my a local ministry who reaches out to the kids in Unitedville and provides tutoring and teaching, support and a weekly Club to learn about God. We ran the Club on Tuesday and the girls did an amazing job! We started off by making a craft, which Ali did a great job of explaining and leading. Then we taught them some fun camp songs, which Sarah took charge of and the kids loved it. Maycie, Erin, Calista, Hannah, Jaima, and Sofia acted out the Bible story of Jesus overcoming temptation. Then Erin, Jaima and Hannah each did a great job of sharing a little bit of their story and what they’ve been learning about God lately. They did such an awesome job, and even though we were only there for a few short hours we felt like we made good friends. It was even hard to say goodbye, and there were a few tears in the van as we pulled away. After the Kid’s Club we headed into San Ignacio, which is a really neat town close to the Guatemala border, for supper at an amazing restaurant in an orange orchard. 

Yesterday we took a day off and headed out to the islands! It was amazing to see a different part of the country, and to better understand the huge amount of tourism that happens here. We got up bright and early and drove to Belize city where we chartered a boat and headed to Caye Caulker, one of the closest islands. From there we went out on a little snorkelling excursion. The snorkelling in Belize is amazing! Crystal clear water that is as warm as a bathtub, and the second largest coral reef in the world. In the first spot the girls saw the reef, lots of different fish, and even a barracuda. The second stop is called “Stingray Alley”. It is shallow enough that we could touch the bottom, and we swam around with about 20 stingrays and some other fish. Quite an experience! It was SO so incredible, and the girls loved it (after some mild screaming and squirming when we first got in the water). Almost everyone got the inevitable boat ride sunburn, but we were all smiley and happy when we reached back to Belmopan. Last night for supper I took them to one of my favourite local spots. It’s a tiny little restaurant that doesn’t even have a real name, but because it’s painted purple and has a thatch roof everyone calls it Purple Thatch. The food there is AMAZING, and CHEAP! There were 15 of us and we all stuffed our faces, and our bill came to $36US. Now that’s a good deal for one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten! 

Last night after supper we gathered in for a debrief and reminded the girls that even though it’s going to be tough to leave Belize tomorrow, we have so much love from our family and friends to come home to. Corwin then announced that we had special video messages from everyone’s family, and several of the girls promptly burst into tears. We gathered around the computer and watched all the videos together. We laughed at some of them, cried at some of them, everyone felt a little embarrassed by their parents but mostly proud. It’s always so great to get a little glimpse into everyone’s family life, and see some familiar smiling faces. After the videos we announced that we also had letters form home (more tears), and everyone found a spot to sit and read all the kind words you sent along. There were A LOT of tears… but good tears! Happy tears that remind us that we have a safe place to come home to, a roof over our heads and food to eat and people who love us deeply. That, we have learned this week, is a privilege and not a right and something that we don’t want to take for granted. It was such a fun night, crying and laughing and enjoying all the joy! Thank you for everyone (especially you parents) who took the time to organize all the letters and videos. They were MUCH appreciated and loved. 

Today is a tough day. It’s our last day at the Kid’s Home. Our work was rained out this morning, but the girls are back at it and laying the last little bit of cement. After school we will spend a couple more hours with our little friends before we have to say goodbye. As I have learned from past experiences, goodbyes are tough around here. Please be praying for us this afternoon/evening as we process these goodbyes and cry some tears. 

Tomorrow we leave Belize… where did the time go? It’s crazy to look at how fast this trip has gone. But tomorrow starts another chapter, an important chapter, as we head into a weekend of debrief. We are headed to California to be taught by my good friend Omar who used to live in Belize for many years. We will have a chance to process through everything we’ve learned, and start to think about coming home and heading back into regular life. Be praying for our debrief time, that it will be really powerful and deliberate and we could get the most out of our sessions and our last days together. 

Ok… that was a marathon! I will try and post to let you know that we arrived in California safely tomorrow night (it will be very late). 

Thanks again for your letters, videos, comments, love and support. It means so much…. especially today on a tough day of goodbyes. 

Blessings, 

Kristin

The Beginning of the End

It’s hard to believe that we just spent our second last day at the Kid’s Home. Things just got real as we debriefed tonight, and talked about how we have just a few precious days left in Belize. We had another great day today. We headed to the home this morning and the girls got straight to work pouring another big slab of cement. They have become serious PROS, and were able to jump right in and split up jobs and work together so well. They are 10 cute little construction workers, and you should be really proud! Today’s weather was hot (finally!), but they still powered through without complaint. 

The highlight of the day was when the kids came home from school at 3:30 and the fun could begin. I had a few separate moments today when I was sitting watching the team interact with the kids, and I noticed the depth of relationship that has developed. I heard the kids calling out each team members name, asking me countless times why we have to leave Belize so soon and if their new friends could just stay for longer. There was so much joy today. Laughing and smiles and hugs upon hugs. It never ceases to amaze me how spending only a few short days with the kids can change our lives forever. We feel so grateful for the chance to know them and love them and share life for a little while. It’s a gift. 

Tomorrow we’re switching things up a bit and heading into town for breakfast at the market, and leading a kids club in a local village in the afternoon. It will be a nice change of pace. A good break from the hard labor, but we will miss our little friends! 

Thanks for all the comments! It’s so nice to hear from friends and family. 

Prayer Requests: 

-Maycie and Jaima were feeling a little sick to their stomachs. Maycie if feeling quite a bit better tonight, but Jaima is pretty wiped out. Pray that sleep tonight will restore their health!

-We talked in debrief tonight about what we think God has been teaching us in Belize. Pray that God can keep revealing Himself to us, and open our eyes to what He wants us to learn. 

-Renee’s knee is doing a bit better, my knee is great, and Hannah is all better!

Thanks again for everything. We appreciate you! 

Kristin and the ladies and Corwin

And it was a FUNDAY!

Hi everyone!  It's 10:00pm on Sunday, and Sunday Funday was a HUGE SUCCESS!! Thank you all so much for praying for the weather! It was supposed to be turrential downpours today, but instead the rain stayed away and we were able to have a great day with the kids and even enjoyed a few minutes of sunshine. The team did AMAZING today! Hosting 90 kids for a Funday and meal is no joke! But they worked so hard, played so hard and loved the kids so much. They had really amazing attitudes today, and were willing to jump in and help in every situation. The kids from KCH had an incredible time. Tomorrow will be the first day that they all start asking me how many days until Sunday Funday. It is a huge highlight of their year, and is such a blessing to be able to do for them. We played every game imaginable, ate fried chicken and nachos and cheese, had the legendary slip n' slide, and ate giant bowls of ice cream. And they all got to leave with a bag of candy and treats.... marching to the bus with HUGE smiles on their faces. Thanks again for everyone who contributed to making today a success. 

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After a much needed afternoon nap and some fried chicken left overs, we headed to church in the local community called Roaring Creek. It was a great night of worship and learning. It's so interesting to worship in a different culture, and see how much joy the people here have in their relationships with God. We feel like we learned a lot. As we were driving home Maycie said "tell everyone that church was very powerful and encouraging and it taught us a lot." She summed it up! 

To say that I'm tired is an understatement... so it's off to bed for me! Tomorrow we are headed to the Children's Home all day, and we can hardly wait to get there! 

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!! 

Kristin  

It’s SUNDAY FUNDAY!

It’s SUNDAY FUNDAY! 

 

Good morning everyone! Sorry for no blog post last night! We have finally arrived at one of the funnest days of the year… Sunday Funday! This morning at 10:30 all of the kids from KCH will arrive at YWAM for a few hours of organized chaos. We’ll have some games, some toys, some fried chicken and nachos, a slip n slide and some ice cream sundays. I can imagine how excited the kids are to arrive…. they have been counting down the days for so long. Our team is also very excited. When the alarm went this morning Alison immediately shouted out “It’s Sunday Funday!’. I guess we’ve been counting down the days too! 

As far as a weather update goes, right now it is really cloudy and cool. It’s been raining off and on a little bit today, but the rain is holding off for now. Please pray that the sun will come out today and not hinder any of our plans (at breakfast we sang out a few rounds of “Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun just in case!).

Yesterday we were at YWAM all day. We spent the morning decorating for Valentines day and organizing the games and toys for today. In the afternoon we did some planning for the upcoming kids club, and then we went for a swim in the river! It was SO fun. Swimming in the river in Belize is pretty much the jungle-iest thing possible, and the girls loved it so much. The river has a breathtakingbeauty that is totally unmatched, and it’s one of those moments that you have to just sit back and look around and realize how blessed we are to be in this beautiful place! 

Thanks to everyone who supported Sunday Funday this year. We are about to have an amazing day because of your generosity. I wish you could be here with us! We’ll be thinking of all of you. 

Prayer Requests: 

-Praise: Renee’s knee is feeling a little bit better! She still has pain, but it has improved in the last couple of days. My knee is doing much much better as well! 

-Hannah is feeling great!

-Maycie has a soar throat and is feeling tired today. Pray that she doesn’t get sick, and can overcome these symptoms. 

I am not positive that I’ll be able to do another update today to let you know how the day went. We’ll be at church this evening, and it sometimes goes quite late. But for sure check back tomorrow and I’ll hit the highlights of Sunday Funday!

The girls are LOVING the comments… keep them coming! It would be great to hear from all the parents, so feel free to leave a shout out to the team. 

Just as I am finishing up the post the sun came out! Yay!!!!

Blessings,

Kristin and some excited young ladies

Cement and Cholis and Basketball.

Day two on the work site, and these ladies are still hard at work! We headed to the Children’s Home again this morning and got right back at pouring cement. Today was very cool and a little rainy, which turned out great for working. (by “very cool” I mean that it was +20). The girls were able to complete the large slab that we started pouring yesterday (while team bad knees cheered from the side lines!). The girls were feeling soar and tired from yesterday, but still jumped in eagerly to work this morning. 

The girls were pretty tired out in the afternoon, and I could see them trying to push through fatigue and frustration and get the job done, which is so fair and normal for the amount of work they have accomplished in the last 2 days. 

We left the home around 4:30 and headed into town to get a Cholis (the BEST ice cream/coffee drink in the universe). And from there we were able to take in a local basketball tournament at a public court in town. There was one young man from the Children’s Home on the team, as well as a young man from YWAM so we decided to be their cheering section and headed to the game to support them. It was so much fun, and great to experience a little more of the Belizean culture. (And I’m not going to lie… I think the two young men were pretty happy to have such a lovely bunch of girls cheering for them!). It was great to be able to relax and have some fun after two long days of work, and do something new. 

The team celebrating the victory with Lawrence and some new friends

The team celebrating the victory with Lawrence and some new friends

Tonight we are hanging out at the YWAM base with some much needed and deserved free time. As I write this there are countless games of carpet pool being played, and new friends being made. I wouldn’t be surprised if we head to bed soon, because we are worn out!

I can see so much joy in the faces of the team. There are beautiful moments happening all around. There is a lot of laughing (like A LOT). There are lessons being learned. It is going so great! I wish that all of you could stop by YWAM tonight to say hi and see how well these girls are doing. You would be proud! 

Prayer Requests for Today:

-Praise… my knee is feeling a lot better today! Thanks for praying!

-Renee is still in a lot of pain. She has a doctors appointment tomorrow morning and she is resting tonight to try and bring the swelling down. Please keep praying for her!

-Hannah is feeling so much better, thanks for praying for her too! And praise that there has been no other sickness issues. Everyone is doing really well. 

-Please keep praying for the weather for Sunday. We are hosting the Children’s Home over at YWAM for the day, and the forecast right now is 90% chance of lots of rain that day. Please pray that the rain could hold off and we could have a great day with the kids. They are SO looking forward to it! (I can’t even count how many times I heard “Miss Kristin… only 2 more sleeps!” today)

-Please be praying for continued strength, energy, and patience as these girls are working hard and learning lots. 

Thanks so much for the support and comments! We read them all to the girls this morning, and they were so encouraged to hear your kind words. (Taryn… thanks for your beautiful words this morning. They were just what God wanted us to hear, and they made us cry a little… in a good way!). So please feel free to share a thought or comment of encouragement and we will pass them on for you! 

Day Two… check! Onto the next!! 

Blessings, 

Kristin

It's Official.... We Love Belize.

Hello everyone! Reporting from the jungle again, and happy to say that we had an awesome first day at the Children’s Home! 

We had a great sleep last night (for almost 12 hours) which helped a lot in recovering from our travel days. We woke up this morning and had an awesome breakfast and headed to the Kids Home for the day. As we pulled up the girls were feeling a mix of emotions. We have talked about this moment for SO long, and here we finally are. They were feeling really excited and kind of nervous, not truly knowing what to expect. We walked in to find that our work project was perfectly prepared for us, and they were ready for us to jump in. We are laying cement in the centre courtyard of the home. Within 10 minutes these girls were working HARD, and moving wheelbarrows of cement through what is essentially an insane obstacle course… from outside in the backyard, across the path, up a ramp made of a 2 x 4, across the sidewalk inside the home, down a 2 x 4 ramp over the staircase, and into the court yard where they would pour it in place. It was a huge and difficult task and they totally aced it. They worked with confidence, and for hours and hours. Lifting and moving hundreds of pounds of cement like a boss. We were so proud! You should be too. They put in a full day, until almost 5:00, and I didn’t hear anyone complain once. It was inspiring and awesome, and the foreman and crew at the Home were more than impressed at their awesome work ethic. 

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After work it was finally time to play with the kids. Some of us sat and watched the older boys play basketball (my personal all time favourite hobby). And the rest were running and playing with the little kids. It was BUSY and FUN, and the team was so inspired by the joy they saw in the kids and how openly they loved and accepted us. 

We stayed for supper, and were able to eat in the dining hall with the kids. We decided to stay for evening devotions which was a really humbling experience. Every night the whole home gathers to sing worship songs and recite scripture and have a bible lesson. Some of the girls were moved to tears, just taking it all in and feeling inspired by the devotion and love these kids have for God. We loved watching little Brian, who is two years old, clapping and singing at the top of his lungs with his eyes closed worshiping God. 

We hit the grocery store for some snacks, and came back to YWAM to shower and have a debrief time and now we’re off to bed!

Prayer Requests for Today: 

  • My knee is still very soar (I went to the doctor today for x rays and they didn’t find anything wrong with the bones… I basically just wrote that for my mom’s peace of mind). But unfortunately our other leader Renee had an accident with her knee today too. She had a partially torn ACL, and today she went sideways off one of the ramps with the wheelbarrow and she is pretty sure she has torn it more, or completely. She is in a lot of pain and feeling frustrated about the injury. So please be praying for her knee, and mine too, that this pain can go away and we can have some healing and be back to 100%. Tomorrow she’ll be walking with crutches and I’m using a cane, so we could use some prayer for sure!

 

  • Pray for no further injuring or sickness with the team (update on Hannah… she is feeling a lot better today and her cough is improving). 

 

  • At the risk of sounding ridiculous, please pray for the weather. Belize is experiencing a cold front (not too cold, because we got some sunburns today). But at night the temp is dropping and we are chilly! I’m asking for prayer because this weekend it is supposed to cool off even more, and rain all weekend. This Sunday we are having Sunday Funday, and hosting the entire Children’s Home over to YWAM for a whole day of outside fun! Please pray that it doesn’t rain, and we can enjoy that day with the kids. Literally almost all 100 of the kids at the home today asked me how many more sleeps until Sunday Funday. 

Ok… bedtime! Thanks for reading. Thanks for your prayers and love and comments! Keep it all coming! 

Tomorrow we will be back at the home working again. 

Until next time… 

Kristin 

 

 

We Made It!

Hello family and friends! I’m happy to say that we’ve made it to Belize safe and sound! It took four flights to get here, but everything went really well and we made it here with no problems at all. Thanks for praying for us! 

We arrived at the YWAM base this afternoon, had an amazing Belizean lunch of rice and beans and chicken and took a MUCH needed nap! We just ate a great supper, and we are pretty ready to head right back to bed. It’s been a long couple of days, and we’re ready for some good jungle sleep! 

I’m going to keep this shorts, because I can imagine a lot of parents refreshing this blog every 30 seconds for this update. Tomorrow morning we’re heading to the Children’s Home to start our building project and meet the kids. We are EXCITED! 

Prayer Requests:

-For an awesome and refreshing sleep tonight. 
-For Hannah…. she is getting over a virus. She is feeling much better than she did when we left yesterday morning, but pray that she can feel back to 100% by tomorrow.
-For me, Kristin. I have a bad knee, and today when I was walking to the shower I heard a strange pop in my knee and now it’s hurting quite a bit. Pray that whatever is hurting can heal up, and I can be back to normal tomorrow! 

Thanks so much for your support and prayers! We appreciate you guys! Stay tuned tomorrow for some more stories and pictures of what we’re up to. 

Signing off from the jungle!

Kristin and the team

It's almost time!

Hey! This is Kristin Clark, the Director of Project Serve. Welcome to our blog! We have a group of 10 young ladies and 3 leaders leaving for the country of Belize this coming Tuesday, Feb. 9th at 12:00pm. We have been meeting and training together since September, and we are so excited that the time has finally come to start this awesome adventure! We are so honoured to have the chance to serve in Belize, and learn as much as we can about this amazing culture, and deepen our relationship with God. 

Please feel free to stop by this blog every couple of days for updates, prayer requests, pictures and videos from Belize. We would love to have you join in on this journey with us! 

Please be praying for safe travels and good health for our team on Tuesday. We will arrive in Belize on Wednesday morning and begin our ministry time on Thursday. 

Thanks for reading!

Kristin Clark