Mission Trip!!! (Part 3)

The story continued from yesterday:
 Only 4 full days in Belize, and we were already falling in love with the places and the people...

After just a few days among the Belizean people, we all began to realize how many things we take for granted in our daily lives.  So often we complain about our problems instead of realizing just how very blessed we are.  It was a refreshing experience to be there, living life, and truly depending on God.  In comfort it's very easy to depend on our own abilities.  In unknown territory, when you don't understand the language, the money, the food- you find yourself turning to God much more frequently.  When we turn to God, the things that He does in and through us are amazing.  He not only takes care of all our needs, but He surprises us with extra special blessings a long the way.

One of those extra special blessings for me happened on the Saturday we were in Belize.  The morning we spent preparing for our VBS that would start the next day, but in the afternoon, Craig Fritzler took us to see the ruins at Xunantunich.  I was excited at the chance to see something so important to Belizean culture and history- and it was beautiful.  We were all a little amazed by the beauty- even the kids were quite impressed.  Suddenly, Noe said, "Look!  There are monkeys up in that tree!"  Now, anyone who knows me will know that I have always loved monkeys (I used to collect stuffed monkeys when I was young), and I have long dreamed of seeing monkeys in the wild.  I probably had mentioned that I hoped to see some, and my girls kept asking if we would see monkeys while we were in Belize.  After talking with the missionaries, I realized our hopes of seeing monkeys were slim- in 5 years, the missionaries had only seen monkeys 2 or 3 times.  So Saturday morning when Keyli asked me once again if we would get to see monkeys, I tried to tell her not to get her hopes up- it wasn't very likely.  Imagine my surprise when Noe saw the monkeys in the trees above!  It was a special treat for me and the kids.  We watched several howler monkeys playing in the trees for probably 20 minutes, and we even got to hear one howl (sounds like a jaguar or some other big cat).  The kids were so excited, and it was a highlight for all of us.  I think it was one of God's many extra special blessings for us!

That afternoon, after leaving Xunantunich, we stopped by the outdoor market in San Ignacio.  After browsing for a bit, we all ended up at the other end of the market by the river.  We were all drawn to the water, probably because we were so hot and sweaty, and as we got closer, we saw many children and families bathing and swimming.  Our kids almost immediately began peeling off socks and shoes, and the little ones stripped right down to their underwear to wade in the water.  The clear-looking water was irresistible, and before long, we all went in.  Some of us got soaked, and others just waded in to our knees, but we all had fun.  It was a refreshing, very Belizean experience!

Have you ever felt like there's a certain moment in your life that defines you, that provokes you to become all you were meant to be?  I think we all have many moments like that over the course of our lives...and this mission trip to Belize was one of those moments, for our whole team.  There's something really unique about being in a different culture, surrounded by the unknown.  You begin to compare life as you know it to the new way of life your are experiencing for the first time- and it takes your breath away.  Living, even for a few days, in new conditions, opens your eyes to a whole lifestyle that has always existed, but one that you never knew about.  As you breathe it in, you have the choice to either reject it or embrace it.  Looking at the Belizean people, hearing their laughter and seeing their tears, sweating in the humidity, eating their food and shopping in their stores, we realized that though Belize is completely different from Mexico, we are all the same.  We all need love, we all need compassion.  We all NEED a personal relationship with God to experience true joy and happiness.  We chose to embrace the differences, to learn from them, and to allow God to use the new experiences to make us into who He wants us to be...

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Holly-Dolly, you surely did love MONKEYS as a little girl! I know that I personally bought you a few plushly-stuffed monkeys. I'm so thankful that you and the kids got to see them in the wild. I agree...that had to be just a special love gift from our Father. NEAT!