James OBoyle

As I pause and reflect on this trip, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity of telling you about two Belizeans that have changed my life… First is John Chuc.  John was our tour guide at a Mayan site during the first day of the trip. He also led the men on an excursion through the Belizean jungle where we enjoyed coconuts, sink holes, and scorpions. He knows an incredible amount of knowledge about trees and herbs and their medicinal properties. 

Next, was a man named Kevin Tzib. Kevin is an associate pastor at a church called Oasis of Blessing. What’s awesome is that he is only 23 years old. He is an incredibly passionate about God and as a future pastor I admired his passion for youth. Kevin gave up a life of comfortability to love and disciple the youth of a country where 58% of its citizens are 18 years old or younger. I was drawn to this man and I was so thankful for the vast amount of information that I learned from him. 

Yet in both of these men there’s one thing that was evident… They both had an incredible amount of passion for Belize. They both saw the deficiencies in their country, yet were passionate to help bring change. John knew a vast amount of information about his home country and their history. Kevin knew his culture well and desired to see his country become passionate for God. 

I’m thankful for these men and their impact on my life.

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Britany Cotton

When I applied for this trip in August, I had no idea how much it would drastically change my perspective on life and strengthen my faith. Throughout the week we have been able to visit multiple churches and build relationships with students and teachers. Each of these people displayed a remarkable amount of dedication to their faith, the students, and their congregation. Despite their lack of resources, the teachers provide a quality education for each child; Most teachers have no electricity in their classroom. 

Each church congregation encouraged me. Worshiping God with people who speak a different language is incredible. Despite the language barrier, each person I encountered while here in Belize showered me with acceptance and hugs. The smiles and laughs of each child will be forever etched in my memory. We may have many possessions in the U.S., but we often lack rich relationships. I will forever be thankful for the time spent here because it has challenged me to pursue more intentional relationships at home, both with Jesus and others.

Nathan Miller

Wow! Time has flown by here in Belize, and I can’t believe how incredible each moment has been. The land is beautiful, the food is delicious, and the work is fulfilling. Yet, it’s the people of Belize that make the difference. Every person that I have had the pleasure of meeting is another highlight to this trip.
John Chuc is the first Maya I’ve ever met. He’s full-blooded Maya-Yucatec, trained to know every flora and fauna, and a new brother in Christ. John is so in touch with God’s creation and the history of his people that to hear him speak of such things is awe-inspiring.

Pastor Kevin Tzib was offered a manager’s position at a local bank, but he refused so that he could dedicate himself to full time ministry. (Full time really means full time. Not just Sundays.) His passion is for the youth of Belize to be wholly committed to God. Also, Kevin is 23. My age.

The children of Belize are especially precious. Gabriel gave me 4 ninja turtle stickers on my second night in Belize. The kids of Billy White taught me as much as, if not more than, what I was sent to taught them. Oscar would continually want to play ‘catch’ or hide and seek, not even wanting to go home to eat lunch. He would always ask, “you want to play?” I miss him now.

Elias, Gringo, Giana, Gordo, Arnold, Herbert, Mr. Landero, Mr. Naphtalie, Sister Becky, Pastor Walter, Haidan, Ethan, the market vendors, Walter, Little John, Oscar, Abner, John n’ Sue Eve, and my team. I don’t have enough words to discuss how each one has affected my life this past week. I know that they have helped me to remember what God says I should treasure. 

Mollie Rozean

Even as we were preparing ourselves for this trip several weeks ago, I was developing my own expectations of what our time in Belize would look like. However, now that I am here, I realize that my expectations were rather extreme.  
I was told “many of our students will be living in poverty,” so I prepared myself for children who were sadly deprived. 

I was told “our school would have fewer resources,” so I prepared myself to work in a minimal classroom. 

I was told “the mosquitoes will be vicious,” so I packed a gallon of Deet. 

Though my expectations of the insects are correct, what I had prepared myself to see and experience in the classrooms of Billy White are now proved opposite. 

Yes, I encounter children who come from impoverished homes, but I did not anticipate their abundance of affection. Though I have shown the student that I care for them by teaching them and playing games, they have showered me with a love that I did not anticipate. 

I thought that I was coming to this village to show Christ’s love, but in truth, they have given me an unprecedented and unconditional love. This is only our second day, and already I have received two gifts from the students I teach. I never thought a coloring page and ribboned necklace could affect me so personally; these students have very little, yet they give to me freely after only one day of knowing me. It’s such a wonderful reminder of God’s love. 

Yes, I have encountered classrooms that are under-resourced, but they only lack in material resources, not in instruction. When I first entered the classroom, I expected that the teachers were grossly under-resourced and the students were in desperate need of intervention. However, after only the first few moments of watching the teachers interact with their students, I graciously realized that I was gravely mistaken. The classrooms are decorated with colorful knowledge; the students’ work hangs off the wall and is strung from the ceiling, celebrating their accomplishments. I have nothing but praise to offer these incredible teachers who work with the resources they have to provide these students with their best chance at a bright future. I’ve watched many classes, students ages four to fourteen, working towards expanding their learning and mastering the English language. The teachers consistently encourage their students towards excellence. 

When I envisioned myself being a part of this missions team, I expected that we were here to revolutionize the community’s education system by building their library and teaching in their classroom. However, I now understand that we are only a small component to God’s overarching plan. The school is self-sufficient; we are only here to help them improve by providing books and resources. More than anything, we are here learning what if it truly means to be steadfast. It has been such a privilege to work with this school and my team. I am beyond excited to see what the remainder of our week holds. 
Mollie Rozean