We're Coming Home!

Hey everyone! So sorry for a lack of communication from our debrief weekend. It was a really intense and powerful time for our team, and it was hard to find the emotional or physical energy to try and transform our sessions into words. I've been letting a few words about this weekend roll around in my head....
-real
-powerful
-vulnerable
-peaceful
-joyful
-worshipful
-informative
-revealing
-encouraging
-fun
-surprising

I think that all of these words, and many more, apply to how each of us felt this weekend and we spent time with my good friend Omar Myrie as he walked us through the "what now" of our trip. Omar is known to hear from God in very real and powerful ways, and God had very powerful things to say to us as a group and individually this weekend. I'm not sure that any of us could have predicted that, but it was so humbling and encouraging to hear directly from God and know that He is here with us and so happy with who we are and what we just accomplished in Belize. Our debrief weekend reached way beyond our trip, and dove into some of our struggles, opportunities, fears, relationships, and friendships back home. It was a refreshing time to sit and think through these things with such good friends. Knowing that no one would be judged for any thoughts of doubts or fears about coming home.

This team is very unique. It is very very rare that a team will become as close as this one has. I think that leaving Belize was hard, but leaving each other tonight at the airport has the potential to be even harder. I think that we are nervous to face life alone starting tonight, and wish that we could continue to rely on each other for strength tomorrow morning as school starts. This team truly LOVES to be together. I cannot say it enough. The joy that has formed in these friendships is real ,and very deeply rooted in Christ. We laugh together ALL the time. We are honest with each other. We don't play favourites. We don't talk behind each others backs. We form a united front and share something so real and tangible that only the 21 of us (22 including our friend Hugo in Belize) can truly understand. So please know that as we come home we are very excited to see you. To sleep in our beds. To share our stories and show you our pictures. To pet our dogs (ahem... Katie). But we're also scared to leave each other. There is always that moment at the airport when reality hits, and one by one team members start to leave with their parents. And before you know it you find yourself alone in the back seat of a car. Or alone in your bed wondering what just happened. And what you're supposed to do now. So if I can ask on behalf of all of us for your patience, understanding, and love as we readjust from our Belize family back to our home families. We have prepared ourselves as best as we can for this transition to go smoothly, but there is always the chance that it just might not. And we will need you, our supporters, more than ever. To understand, and give a hug, listen to us AND give us space, know that sometimes we will need to be together with our fellow team mates, and that in no way means that we love or value you any less. We need you, love you, and truly cannot thank you enough for making this happen for each one of us. We know that this trip did not happen because of our own efforts, but because of the help and supports of our friends and community. This will probably be one of the biggest and most humbling gifts that you could ever give us. THANK YOU.

To the team.... you are at home now and finally able to read the blog. I hope I've done justice in putting your experience into words. I need you to always know and always remember how proud I am of you. How proud all of us as leaders are. You could not have done any better than you have. You could not have loved the kids any harder, or worked with more passion. Project Serve 2013 is completed, and you were faithful with what you were given. Thank you for loving Belize. Thank you for loving on the kids at KCH so much that they were so sad to say goodbye to you. Thank you for hugging them, and chasing them even when you were exhausted. Thank you for seeing their true beauty, and allowing them into your hearts. They are not going to forget you. Some of you are probably sitting on your bed right now, reading this with tears streaming down your face. Wishing that it wasn't all over. And that this blog wasn't so close to completion. Just remember our debrief time. Remember all the things that God showed and told you. Remember the promises that we made to each other. Remember that God has shown us this is not the end for us, it is only the beginning. Be encouraged that the friendships that have been started are going to continue. This experience could not be further from being over.

Our flight home leaves in 20 minutes, and I am out of words. Thanks for reading and praying. We are arriving home tonight on West Jet flight 178 at 12:48am. It will be SO late, but we're looking forward to seeing whatever faces can make it out to welcome us. Just so you know, we take a minute to say a prayer and say our goodbyes as a team before we come through security to all of you. We will be very mindful and respectful of your time, and keep in mind how late it is. But we will just need a few extra minutes alone to finish this experience together.

God bless all of you.

Our cups runneth over....

Project Serve Belize 2013

Even More Pics!

As we begin our debrief in California, we thought we would share some more pics of our journey.  Thanks again for all your kind words and encouraging comments!  Please continue to pray as we work through the overflow of thoughts and emotions during this debrief time.

the Last Night and We're All Crying

Oh man.... This is the blog post that I always dread writing. How on earth am I supposed to sum up the feelings and emotions of today in a way that will make sense to all of you? Tough call, but I'll do my best.

Most of our day was spent taking in the incredible surroundings in the Caribbean Sea. We left very early this morning to head to the coast and get on our boat. Most of us went snorkelling, and then headed to Caye Caulker (one of the favourite tourist islands around here) for some lunch and shopping. The snorkelling was so great! We went to 2 locations, the first one to look at the coral reef and the second one to swim with sharks and sting rays! I absolutely love sting rays, and we easily swam with about 50 today, as well as a couple of nurse sharks. The team did great. There were a few nervous screams as we first got in the water with the rays, as we got used to them brushing up against our legs. But we soon became comfortable and started diving down to touch them and swim alongside them. How many people get to do something as cool as that? We are so blessed.

We loaded up on the bus once we were all sufficiently sunburned, and headed back to Belmopan to say our final goodbyes at the Children's Home. No one has been looking forward to this day. Trying to imagine it has been too hard until today. So it kind of snuck up on us. Today was not a totally typical goodbye at the home. Our team was of course very sad to say goodbye to the kids, and many tears were shed. That part I was expecting. But the part that caught me off guard was how sad the kids were to see this team go. These kids see a lot of kids come in and out of their house. Saying goodbye is a learned behaviour for them, and they're usually pretty good at it. But today they were hanging on a little tighter, and savouring every last second with this team. I easily had 15 kids come up and ask me when I'm coming back to Belize with this exact team. They didn't want to hear that I'm planning a trip down here in the summer, or that there will be more teams in the summer. They wanted to know how soon I can return with THIS team. They were in love, and it was tough to let go today. Many of the kids shed some tears today as they saw us go, which doesn't often happen. During our final team debrief night here in Belize, we all talked through our feelings and emotions surrounding today. Some feel mad that these kids have to stay here in less than ideal conditions. Some feel hopeful that their presence here was beneficial for these kids this week. Some feel so grateful to have the chance to meet these kids, and they know they'll never be the same again. But I think Sam summed it up best when he said that he can see that God has poured out his favour on this team. That all of our hearts are so strongly connected and we love each other so much. And God has overflowed this love so much in us, that it has impacted these kids in a special way this week. They wanted to be around us because God was showing up in our lives in a real way, and they wanted a piece of that. They wanted to hug us one more time. And make sure we all have plans to return soon. Luke also spoke truth when he said that the moment that we were driving away, when kids were running after our bus and reaching out their hands to our open windows just for one more chance to hold his hand was one of the very most beautiful moments of his life. I just so wish that you could all have been in that bus with us, so I didn't have to try and explain these moments with my words. They come up short. Just know that we are changed. We have seen the face of Jesus in a new and very real way, and we can never go back to exactly how we were. We have taken a glimpse into heaven. God is so real to us, that we can physically see Him and touch Him in the faces of these awesome kids.

We’ve just experienced a collision of God’s love...
— Sam Boctor

Tomorrow morning we will leave the base, and fly to California for our weekend of debrief. We are flying in my good friend and brother Omar Myrie, who spent 10 years working closely with YWAM and the Children's Home here in Belize. These next 3 days will be just as important as the days we have just enjoyed. So pray for us. That we can begin to fully process and understand exactly why we were chosen to make up the Project Serve Belize team of 2013.

We love you so much, and thank you for your prayers and support. I know that leaving here is hard, but we really are excited to see all of you at home.

With overflowing hearts...

the Belize team

Nearing the end. And tarantulas.

Yes, we have just finished going on the 10th annual tarantula hunt. And yes, it was a huge success. You thought your kids were scared of spiders? Nope! Fear conquered. It was super fun (and scream filled), but successful!

Yesterday was a little taste of the end. It was the last day at the work site and we began to say good bye to some of the kids at the Children's Home. It was for sure the first time that some of us have faced the reality that the end is near. I can't explain how fast this trip has gone. It honestly feels like we arrived a day an a half ago. I remember the conversations on the bus on day one, that we were so happy we were just starting because there was so much left to come. And now here with sit with only a trip out to the Cayes, and a weekend to debrief together until we're home with all of you. How is that even possible??? It feels like a blink, and it'll be done. Pray for us in the next few days, that we can truly process why we were each chosen to be a part of this unique experience. And that we can be ok with letting go of it, and trading it in for our lives back home. It's a tough concept to grasp .... just this morning some girls were commenting on how weird it is that they own cell phones. How being reconnected will seem strange after such a quiet and peaceful life in the jungle.

Last night during debrief we concentrated on being thankful for the families we're so blessed to have back home. Spending this much time with kids who do not come from a traditional or functional family can really open your eyes to how incredible blessed we are to be born into the country and families that we have been. I heard one of our guys on the bus ride home today talk about how he doesn't show his mom how thankful he is for her, and how much he loves her. I don't think those are typical comments coming from a teenage boy. But to be immersed in an orphanage where kids are living because their parents are gone or not able to take care of them, makes us feel like we've won the lottery when it comes to families. You guys are amazing, and I can collectively apologize for all of us for ever taking any of you for granted. One big lesson that we will all walk away with is that we are very blessed to have the love in our lives that we do. And to celebrate that we presented each team with a surprise video message and a package of secret mail collected from home. To be honest, almost everyone FREAKED out. Just saying the words "we have messages from home" evoked many tears that didn't stop flowing until a couple of hours later. It was an emotional but fantastic night. Thanks to everyone who made the effort to send a letter or video message. They were all incredibly well received.

Today we got to head to the village of Unitedville to lead a kids club at In His Will Ministries. I've been taking teams there for a few years now, and they have a really great thing going on. The kids in that community are great. They have a ton of energy, and makes friends very easily. Spending a couple of hours with them is enough to feel like a good friend. Enjoy some pics from today as I sign off for tonight. Tomorrow we are snorkelling all day, and Friday we leave! There may not be another blog post until we reach California.

God bless and thanks so much for your kind words and support.

Much love...

PS Belize 2013

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Transformational Times

Another night in the jungle...an ocean of stars, the buzz of life amongst the trees and a carpet of twinkling fireflies all remind us again of our beautiful Creator and His breathtaking handiwork! We have asked another two team members to share their hearts with you tonight.

Please know that your comments and words of encouragement are a treasure to us here...please keep them coming!

Here are some thoughts from Kristen Weber and Dallas Pelly:

Kristen

Hey mom and dad!!! i miss all of you guys so much and i think about you everyday! Guess what, i'm not even scared of the bugs!.. well maybe a little but i'm not even screaming at all and i even killed a cockroach!. God has been so amazing and has been so awesome, My eyes have opened so much to so many things! the Children's home is amazing, I have held so many amazing kids so far, they always have a reason to make me smile and so far i have had two babies fall asleep in my arms and it has been so awesome and life touching. God has shown me that you don't have to have a lot of things to be so happy because every time I look into the children's eyes I see happiness and love and it is just so amazing to see that. Waking up to God's beautiful creation of the jungle and the noises from it is so uplifting and awesome, even the howling monkeys.. Im so excited to come back and show you what God has showed me and taught me and just share this amazing experience i'm having here! Tell zack, nick, dominic, dawn and nevaeh i miss them so much and love them! see you guys soon i love all of you so much!!

Dallas

Some of my FAVE things about Belize:

  • Drinks in glass bottles
  • Cholis (pronounced CHO-lees) which is a yummy drink
  • All the kids asking for a piggy back at KCH.
  • Seeing the new home come together. SO MUCH BIGGER!
  • Being IN random parades in the capital city with all the soccer kids.
  • Singing God of Wonders under the stars at YWAM.
  • Being cold at night in 20 degree weather.
  • Getting to hold a dead Iguanas.
  • Hearing the kids at KCH yell "MAM"
  • Trying to sound like the locals: "Back-weh Bwoy! "fih TRU!
  • Playing carpet pool with kids on the YWAM base.
  • Hearing howler monkeys in the middle of the night
Seriously this is the most amazing place in the world. There is officially two types of people in the world. Those who have been to Belize and those who should come. Before coming here I have heard countless stories of the people here, especially the children of "Kings Childrens Home".

While in this country we are spending quite a bit of time at the new home for the children. Our first day the first place we went was the Childrens home which they have been in since 1992. Their old home is so tiny compared to even the standard home in Canada. It is hard to imagine that this place is home to over 80 children, but sadly this is the place that they call home.

Today we ventured back to the work site. After a full day there we headed over for a Cholis and a picnic before walking to KCH. Tonight we were allowed to stay for worship time in the house. All the kids 10 and up got dressed up and headed to church. We stayed with the younger ones and headed into their tiny living room.

I was sitting there while all the children and our team found seats in the room. All of a sudden Josiah with his husky deep voice tells the kids to quiet down. I waited to see which adult was going to step up and lead the worship time, but none stepped forward. Instead Josiah and another boy led the entire room in a prayer and then a few songs and finally a reading from a bible story from yet again another child less than 10 years old!

This challenged my view on a lot of things. How could these kids lead themselves. Its as if some Lord of the Flies senario has played itself out. These kids were singing, and shooshing others from their own family even when an adult was not there to guide them. They were timid at first, but I heard such authenicity in their tiny voices when they prayed. I was totally amazed.

Before worship time we set aside a room for kids who has specific sponsors who had sent the kids a gift. So many of them were so happy and overjoyed to recieve such a small gift. Some kids got candy, others toys, whatever the gift big or small, all the kids were so happy.

For those of you that know me and my wife Shalisse, we have a child who we have the grace of sponsoring: his name is Edgar. Edgar is also called Papito or Papi. He is a little bit different from all the other kids. He is always pulling up his pants, today he even ripped a pair playing hide and go seek. Edgar is very kind a considerate, he is quite a gentleman. He is kind of a loose cannon and can be distracted easily and he LOVES to laugh and play games. He likes to scare people and he has the cutest giggle. Words cannot describe how amazing it was to finally meet him.

Thanks a lot for all your prayers and encouragements from back home. You guys mean a lot to us. We definitely need you to keep us in your prayers. The enemy wants to make us weak but it says "His power is made perfect in our weakness"

I love you all and miss you!

Back-wei!

Dallas Pelly

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Sunday Funday!

Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of blogging last night. Some days are too long and full to try and compose my thoughts at the end. But I have some time now to fill you in on our jam packed weekend.

On Saturday we didn't need to be at the work site, so we offered up our services at the YWAM base. As it turned out, there was a kick off for a HUGE football (soccer) tournament on Saturday afternoon, and our team (the YWAM boys) were playing in the first game. So we knew what we had to do! We dressed in our team colour (orange) made banners and posters, blew up balloons, and got ready to show our support. There was a huge parade to kick off the festivities all through the city with all 19 teams in the tournament. And we got to be in it! We walked along side our YWAM boys cheering and yelling all the way. I can imagine there were a few people wondering how all these white people made their way into the parade, but we were included in the YWAM team just like family. It was super fun. The boys played a great game, and when it was all wrapped up we spent the evening back at the base having some down time and another nightly debrief session.

Yesterday was a day that we were looking forward to all week. Sunday Funday! We invited every single kid from the Children's Home over, along with their staff and volunteers. There were well over 80 of them, plus our team and the YWAM staff and kids. It was a party!! The KCH kids started showing up at 9:30 (it took them a while to get there.... 3 trips in a bus!). And we were ready with lots of toys and energy ready to make sure they had the best day ever. These kids lives are very structured and they live in a very small house, so it was a huge blessing to all of us to be able to see them RUN. They get to YWAM and just want to run and run and run. Be kids. Go on the swings, and get piggyback rides, and play with bubbles. I was so proud of the team. If they were tired, they sure hid it well. At 12:00 we served a feast of fried chicken, nachos and cheese, and juice. It's hard to really get a feeling of how many kids are living at the home until you see them all sitting in rows at the table, ready to eat. And with that many people you would expect some kind of chaos, but no way. Miss Leonie has raised very polite and grateful kids. They waited their turn. They said please and thanks. They helped to clean up. They are awesome kids, and such a joy to be around.

After lunch we had our annual revealing of the "slip n slide". These kids had never heard of this until we started doing it a few years ago, and now they talk about it in anticipation ALL year. This year we bought a 60 foot long tarp to use, and set a challenge to the kids to see if they could slide all the way down it. Some actually did. Others had fun trying. All in all it was an awesome day. A great tradition carried out for another year. It will take the kids about 3 more days until they start asking me how long until they can come back to YWAM again.

Last night the team got to experience church in Belize in the community of Roaring Creek. We had Luke, Rachelle, and Chelsey share a little bit about what they're learning lately. I know it's a scary thing to get up in front of a crowd, especially in a different country. We were proud of our friends for being willing to share.

Today we were back at the work site, and I really think the team is having a ton of fun. Us as leaders keeping referring to this team as the "laughing team", because they are ALWAYS laughing. Usually so hard that they're crying. So that kind of attitude usually makes for a ridiculously fun work site. I've really never seen kids laugh so hard over things like paint and sweeping. They think it's all fun, and funny. Which has been a huge blessing. It's so fun to hang out with people who are having so much fun.

For the friends and family of this team, you should be proud. This team is awesome. They are serving and loving people wherever we go. They're learning things, and working so hard, and hugging and loving kids even when they have nothing left to give. It's inspiring, and an honor to be a part of. I wish all of you could have more of a window into the week this team is having. You would be blessed!!

Please pray for us....
-we're getting really tired. These are long days, and our bodies are tired. Pray for strength and endurance. We can use it!

-there have been a couple of people who have had an occasional upset stomach. Please pray that any and all sickness will leave us, and we can finish this week out strong.

-pray for our hearts. We'll begin saying goodbye to the kids at KCH tomorrow. We're heading back there after work tomorrow and it'll be the last time we see the older kids. We are NOT looking forward to good byes. Pray that we can keep it together!

-pray for Richard, who works here at YWAM. He got very sick last night, and was rushed to Belize city this morning in an ambulance. He is resting at home now, but not in great shape. Pray for strength and healing for him.

Thanks so much for praying!! We love ya all...


Blessings...

Kristin

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A rich full day

Hey to all of our faithful readers! It has been a long and awesome day in the jungle! I don't have a chance right not to fill you in on all the details of today (but I'll leave you with a teaser... we were in a parade today!). But I will leave you with some great words from two more of our students. Today you can hear from the hearts of Talia and Chancelle.... enjoy!

Talia
Although crying while writing this, everything has been absolutely incredible here. God has been showing me so so much. He is soo good and amazing! I could not be more thankful for this experience. Waking up and falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle and seeing God's beautiful creation surrounding me as I serve, still feels surreal. The weather here is AMAZING. Mom, you'd have some wicked holiday hair! ;) Some days are cloudy and cooler, but the sun is still super intense. Learned that the hard way... Oops. Dev, I met Vincent. He said he misses you a ton! Then I said I did too. I also met his little brother Jessie. So cute. :) God has really shown me lately how precious life is and how you don't need anything to have joy. The kids at KCH have so little, but are so grateful and joyful for the littlest things. It was an incredible experience walking in there for the first time and having these little children jump all over you and seeing the joy on their faces. There is nothing like the feeling of putting a smile on the kids faces or making them laugh.
Shout out to my mom & dad, Dev, Brady, Curt, and Ash. I miss you all soo much! <3 <3 I can't wait for big hugs from all of you when I come home. :) Thank you again for supporting me in this and encouraging me when I became worried or doubtful about this trip. All of you are so special to me and I am so thankful God has placed each of you in my life. I'm praying for all of you and that God will keep you safe in your travels as well and for health. I can't wait to tell you all more when I get back. I love you all, with all my heart! You guys are the best. :) Love you soo much! <3


Chancelle
So first of all i just want to say mommy & daddy i miss you guys like crazy! Like i usually don't ever miss you guys lots when you guys go on your little vacations but i mean I'm missing you guys now <3 Goondoo i miss you girl... Raelle, Charlie, Tim, Philip and Megan, please tell me you haven't had baby yet i wanna be there for when my little niece is born!! Oh and mommy contact ez sometime and tell him i miss him kay thanks :) Anyways besides me missing you guys I'm having such an amazing time here in Belize. Honestly i was not expecting this at all what so ever. I've made some super awesome friendships with these people on my team and they've all just been incredibly awesome to be with! Im loving waking up to these jungle noises even though the monkeys legit sound like dinosaurs. I love everything about this place. The heat <3 the best, even though iv'e learnt that you definitely burn hard core even when its cloudy out. The kids <3 oh my, so adorable! Their all so happy with everything they have and they just have so much joy in everything they do. I feel so incredibly blessed to be apart of such an amazing experience, working on the house is so amazing. Being able to work as hard as I am knowing that I'm doing this for a safer and better place for those kids is so heart warming! I mean i haven't sweat like that ever before in my life :p Gods doing some crazy awesome things here and he's been teaching me a lot. I feel so close to him right now, and i definitely feel like I'm in the right place! Corwin and Kristin are the best leaders, for reals i love them both and i want to thank them for making this all come to life. Thank you to all the people who supported me, my church family i love you all so much! Its bed time now so i just feel super blessed so thank you guys so much! Mommy & Daddy i love you <3


Thanks so much for all of your prayers. They are keeping us going. Project Serve is a demanding but rewarding experience. The days are long, but GREAT. Having your prayers and support from back home are a huge encouragement.


Tomorrow is Sunday Funday... and 85 kids are showing up for hours for fun in the morning. Time to get some sleep!!

Goodnight all... blessings.

Kristin and the team

Laughter and Tears

It's the end of our second full day. And I mean FULL day. We spent the morning at the work site trying to finish up our jobs from yesterday. These kids worked SO hard. Our foreman in charge today was Mike... and he came up to me at the end of the morning and said "you should be very very proud of these kids. I don't see kids like this very often. They are very hard workers, and they are here doing very important work". It made me so happy to know that we've been a blessing to the regular work crew who is trying so hard every day to get this home finished. We came here with a heart to serve everyone we can, and I felt like we brought some brightness and hope to Mike and his team today. What a blessing.

This afternoon we headed to the Children's Home for many hours of fun in the sun. It's hard to explain how intense it is to keep 80 kids with endless energy occupied. Especially when we're just a team of white people who are melting in the heat and can barely keep up. But once again, our team was amazing. Spending time at the home just brings out something inside of each one of us that keeps one foot moving in front of the other. Some of the guys on our team played 5 games of football (soccer) and then 3 games of basketball in a row today in 40 degree heat with no shade. I have never seen them so tired and sweaty, but I couldn't have paid them enough to stop playing. Spending time with these kids truly turns love into a verb. I saw Dallas and Edgar chase each other around all afternoon. And Rachelle played at least 100 games of tic tac toe with her little buddy. And our guys went and played basketball at the city court for 2 hours straight. And Maxton got a serious work out catching kids as they jumped off the playground into his arms. And then there were quieter moments, like Kristen holding her little buddy as he fell asleep in her arms for an hour. Or Chancelle sitting with Moses on her lap as he entertained himself with her water bottle. Or Lauren W. getting her hair braided by Alexia. We wish that we could take all of these moments and freeze them in time. Because time is already passing too quickly. There are just not enough hours in the day to love these kids enough!

Tonight we're going to hear from Katie and Cassie as they share a little bit of their heart with you....

Cassie

Hello from Belize, there is so much I could tell you all about this incredible experience but I feel like I could write a novel about it already and its only been 2 days. There as just been so many eye opening things that I have seen. From how well the team works together at the work site, to the absolutely heart breaking smiles of the children at KCH. Today while at the children's home I brought out my camera and spent a lot of time taking pictures and attempting to capture the beauty of the team interacting with the children. It was amazing how patient and energetic they are with the children is so encouraging. Having kids who I have never met run up to me and embrace me like I never felt before just puts a smile on my face and tears in my eyes.. almost :) Their undying love is incredible. All of this makes me want to work so hard while at the work site knowing how much I love them and how much they really need the space. Today we all got to experience a Belize tradition that I have heard a lot about, cholis and yes the talk is true, they are amazing! The cherry on top of my day! To all my family and friends at home I send my love and prayers your way! Hope your February break is great! And to all the other parents out there, your kids are amazing and I am so grateful for each of them. I absolutely love spending time with them!


Katie

Wow this place is so amazing i don't even know where to start! Im sure Kristin has been keeping you all updated with what has been going on everyday and with all the details so I'm just going to talk about the awesome things I am personally experiencing. Seeing God's breath taking beauty all around me is completely blowing my mind, theres something so special about this place I cant even start to put it into words. Today I had an awesome highlight at the Kings Children's home and it really stirred something inside of me. A little 5 year old boy named James, that i had spent time getting to know yesterday remembered me today when we went to visit. He knew my name right away and automatically wanted to run around, play on the monkey bars and kick around the worn and flat "football." Just to see the pure joy in that child's face brought me so much energy in what felt like +40 heat to just push through and embrace every moment with these special children. There is so much more I could write about, but its getting close to bed time and I need every bit of sleep I can get. I hope everyone is enjoying their break and not missing the team too much. I ensure all you worried parents that your children are doing amazing and there is nothing to worry about, and that being said, yes mom I am doing just fine! Please continue to pray for our team and that everyone continues to stay healthy. Thank you everyone for your support! Love you Mom, Dad, Dustin, "The Boys", all my family, and all my friends!


There's not much I can say after those awesome words from the girls. Please keep praying for us... that we would fully be able to embrace being here and learn what we are supposed to. That we would not take one second for granted, and continue to serve in every way that we can. Feel free to leave a comment on the blog, and we'll share it with the team.

We love and appreciate each one of you. Be blessed!!! We're humbled by your support.

Kristin

Has it only been a day?

I'm sitting in my bunk at the end of our first full day, and I have to agree with what most of the team said at debrief tonight.... have we only been here for a day? Spending only 24 hours in Belize feels life changing to us. It feels like we've been here for a long time. Like the friends that we met at YWAM have been close by for so long. And the kids that we met at the Kings Childrens Home today have been in our lives forever. I have been soaking up each and every comment from the team today. This is my favourite day of the entire year. The day that everything we have been working so hard for, and learning and praying about, and being nervous for and losing sleep over and being so excited to start all STARTS. It's like Christmas morning, and the big secret is out. Belize is AWESOME. There are only so many things that can be said about this beautiful place before you just have to experience it yourself. There aren't enough words, but feelings and thoughts and prayers that come pouring out of us when we spend time here. Like all of a sudden we understand a little bit better just how much God loves us. Or just how blessed we are to have been born in Canada into the loving homes that we have. Like everything we've been trying understand about God has shifted into focus today and it all. makes. sense.

Today we started work at the new Children's Home. After spending some time at the current home, it has become very clear to us that this home needs to get built... and FAST! And having a little part of that goal is a true honour. The team did AMAZING today. They worked so incredibly hard.... a lot harder than expected I think..... because they kept finishing jobs ahead of schedule. Taylor made an observation today that this team is so in sync and comfortable with each other that they are able to work efficiently without even saying words out loud. The foreman at the job site compared our team to an army of ants. All in sync. All working hard. He was really impressed.

After work we headed to the current Children's Home to meet all the kids. Within 5 minutes everyone had made 10 new best friends, and were running around playing endless games of tag, basketball, football... you name it! It was so fun. This trip marks my tenth anniversary in Belize, and these kids have had my heart since the very first day I met them. It is such true joy to "share" them with this team. There was a moment when Dallas walked up to me and said "I understand now". And that makes me smile.

Tonight at debrief I heard a few comments like this...

-I never really realized how much I have until today
-I'm already nervous to go home
-I'm not sure how I'm going to say goodbye to these kids
-I felt so compelled to work so hard today because these kids deserve this new house.

Some other fun things that have happened:
-Dallas met Edgar today. His sponsor child. It was epic. They are best friends. All is right with the world.
-We are all usually laughing so hard that we're in tears... just about everything it seems.
-These girls don't scream when they find a cockroach.
-Taylor was reunited with Ashton today, his sponsor child. Ashton has never been happier.

I want to end with some words from two of our girls.... Lauren Wright and Mikaela Kiryk. I'm going to get the team to share their thoughts on the blog too. So enjoy a message from these lovely ladies...

Mikaela K
Words cannot describe my feelings or emotions that I have in Belize! Everything that i am experiencing here is nothing like I have ever experienced before and all the people that I meet teach me something new about myself. My team is fantastic and I can't believe how close we have gotten only in the first full day in Belize. All the food has been amazing and I have fallen in love with hot sauce, I put it on EVERYTHING. I miss my family and friends so much but I know they will be all waiting for me at home. The work here is exhausting and the kids tire you out so much more but it is so worth it because seeing the smiles on their faces and knowing that I am doing something to benefit these kids brings me soo much joy. Please pray that my experience will only get more amazing and that God will give me new experiences everyday. I love you all and I can't wait to share my stories. Lots of hugs and kisses from me and the howler monkeys in the jungle.

Lauren W
AH, Belize has been amazing!! Im gonna try & keep it short & sweet, but for those who know me, I can talk forever! :) First off, HEY MOM, Dennis Grandma Ann, Kyle, & all the others I forgot. I miss you all like crazy. Coming back to Belize for the second time has been amazing & it is only the first full day. I cant wait to see what God has in store for me & what He is going to teach me. I have been missing home a lot & have been very distracted by it, but God really showed me today that my time here in Belize is limited & home is always waiting, so I need to soak up every moment here & remember that you will all be waiting for me at home! I cant really sum everything up, but know that the team is AMAZING & we have become all so close. We went to Kings Children's Home today & it was so great to see the kids I saw last year & to see the excitement on everyones face. Miss you all back home!! Hope life is treating you all well. Don't be freezing toooooo much in Sask! We are quite warm here:) Love you mommy, miss ya all! Bye for now & peace from the jungle!!


Well....
it's past my bed time so it's time to wrap up. Thanks for reading, and praying. Feel free to leave a comment that we can share with the team. U


Kristin

Transient

We're Here!!!!!

Hey everyone! Tonight's post will be short but happy! We are safely in Belize! Today went great. It was a long day of travelling, and we are crazy tired. But we've only been here for a couple of hours and we're in love! The team is so happy and content. Everyone is so relaxed... Unpacking, learning how to play carpet pool, making friends with the YWAM community, loving rice and beans.

Tomorrow we're getting up bright and early to start work. Tonight we are going to enjoy a much deserved and awesome sleep in the jungle.

Goodnight all! Much love....

The Belizers

Welcome to the Belize Blog!

Hey readers! Welcome here! This is the beginning of our incredible adventure. Stay tuned to this blog to hear about all of the awesome things that God has in store for this team, to feel a part of all of the fun we're having, to read about our mad construction skills at the Kings Childrens Home, and to know that none of this could have happened for us without God's plan and your support in our lives. We are SO thankful for all of you, and want to share as much of this experience with you as we possibly can.

I'm writing you from the Starbucks at Huntington Beach. From where I sit I can see Maxton and Luke having some ice cream in the sunshine, Lauren R and Chelsey sitting under a palm tree, and Lauren W, Chancelle, Scott, Talia, Mikaela R, and Sam comparing shopping deals from the side walk sale on Main St. this afternoon. In half an hour we're meeting up as a team and heading over to Cornerstone Church to join our friend Gary Garcia and his awesome youth team at Wave Uth tonight. My co-leader Corwin is the guest speaker at youth tonight and I know it will be a great service.

Our travel day went flawlessly today. Our flights were on time, the weather was perfect, our bags arrived safely. We are in California until early tomorrow morning, when we'll take our final 2 flights and arrive in Belize tomorrow afternoon. The team is doing amazing! It seems like we have been hanging out together forever. The word of the day is comfortable. Everyone is very very comfortable and happy to be together, no matter what combination we're in. We are a family already.

Please continue to pray for us, that our travel would continue to go well.

Pray that Corwin's words would reach the hearts of many youth tonight.

Pray for continued health and safety.

I will update again tomorrow when we reach Belize. I know there will be many anxious moms refreshing the blog to read about our safe arrival!!

Feeling blessed....

Kristin Clark
For the team