The story continued from yesterday:
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...
Our only Sunday in Belize was full of new experiences for us. In the morning, we attended an English-speaking church service with many Spanish-speaking attendees. The Spanish-speaking group sat together on the veranda of the church, and listened as Jadine, the missionary we were staying with, simultaneously translated the English sermon into Spanish. It was a unique experience, and opened our eyes to the the need for Spanish ministry to the Spanish-speaking community in Belize. Because Belize is officially an English-speaking nation, most of the missionaries there speak English- leaving few people able to effectively minister to the Spanish-speaking immigrants.
After the morning church service, our missionary hosts took us to eat lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Chinese restaurants are very popular in Belize, unlike Mexico, so for many people in our group, it was their first time tasting Chinese cuisine. It was a delicious meal, and everyone enjoyed it. After lunch, we stopped by a local supermarket to buy more candy and marshmellows for VBS, which was scheduled to start in Las Flores at 2 o'clock.
When we arrived at the Community Center in Las Flores around 1:30, there were already kids waiting for us. We quickly set up our puppet stage and all our props while some of the guys made balloon animals and went to the streets to remind the kids to come to the VBS. We did VBS in Las Flores Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, at the same time each day, and were very surprised by the turnout. Over the course of the 3 days, we had the chance to share the Gospel with between 80 and 90 children. The theme of our VBS was a pirate/sailor theme called "Looking for Treasure." Each day our kids (Uriel, Claudio, Uriah, Keyli, and Aislynn) dressed up like clowns to do their skit, sing "Jesus is My Superhero", and help us lead the ever-popular "Sailor Dance." After the songs, we did a daily object lesson (which involved plastic bottles, a candle, popping balloons, and a surprise box) followed by a fun game (Chubby Bunny and the Limbo). After the game, I would tell the Bible story and teach the memory verse, which was reinforced by a puppet show and a funny skit with Holly the Pirate and Noe the sailor. At the end of each class, we taught a song that went along with the daily theme, and before the children would leave, we would give out candy, balloon animals, and do face painting. They were 3 very fun days! The kids enjoyed it, and many of them prayed to ask Jesus into their hearts. We hope and pray that the seeds that were sown will continue to grow!
The greatest blessing we received while in Las Flores was the chance to invest into an ongoing children's ministry at one of the local Christian churches. We met a lady named Ruth, and through talking with her, learned that she and her husband Alfredo work with the children at the church. They have a very hard time getting teaching material in Belize, so our team felt led to give her almost everything we had brought with us. We were able to leave the balloons and face paints with her, as well as the puppets, pirate costume and props, and the scripts for all the puppet shows and pirate skits. We wish we could have given her so much more, but we know that God will bless and multiply the little that we were able to give. Ruth and Alfredo are planning a special event for the children of Las Flores for the end of September, and I know our whole team will be praying for them as they continue to plant and water seeds in the hearts of those precious children!
When VBS ended on Tuesday, we knew our time in Belize was also coming to a close. Everyone felt a little sad, and several people said they wished that they could stay longer. Tuesday evening was spent de-briefing with our hosts, saying thank you and goodbye to our new friends, and getting our things packed and ready to go. We were scheduled to leave the house at 5am- Craig would drive us to Belmopan, and we would go the rest of the way in public transportation. I reminded everyone that night that the adventure wasn't over yet- but I had no idea just how true those words would prove to be...