This year Brandon decided to take the youth group to Belize for a mission trip. We have taken the kids on several local mission trips but this time we wanted them to experience a different culture, but even more then that, to see what life is like beyond their borders. To experience the joy, love and kindnesss that exsists without all the worldly possession we have here in the U.S. We decided on San Ignacio Belize, it sits right next to the boarder of Guatemala.
I have to admit, I was caught of guard when people said,” isn’t that a vacation place?” Well It is, if you do not look beyond the modern comfort of the one american resort that resided in San Ignacio. Beyond the walls of the rich resort lies a city of of about 15,000 people who are full of incredible love and inspiration. It is a place where horses are used to mow the grass on the side of the roads. The major highway (there is only one) is two lanes and runs across all of Belize. The city is dusty yet beautiful. The homes are typically one/two rooms with sheets for the front doors. There is no AC, and yes, it is extremely hot, getting into the upper 90’s plus. Let me put it this way, it only drops to 70 there in the winter. But yet it is inspirational.
So why go? The mission was to spread the love of Christ… to reenergize the teachers of Sacred Heart School, to share God’s word with the middle school and high school kids at Sacred Heart, to be present and most of all to love + be loved. We hope to soon be able to call Scarred Heart Church and School our sister parish. They loving took in our entire group. Everyone slept on cement classrooms floors with no ac and misquote nets. Girls in one room and guys in another. The school was in the middle of construction and has been for years. A little gets done here and there as money comes in. However, this does not stop the church and school from being a full functioning active place to enjoy life, learn and worship. Our kids were blessed with the opportunity to paint the outside of the church while there.
“So what’s in it for me”… this is not a phrase I would have said 7 years ago when I first stated doing mission work. The words that came to mind then were, “can I do this?”, “Am I good enough to do this?”, “what do I need to do?”, “how can I help?”, “how do I give enough?” “What more can I do”. But over the years my words have changed… and taken out of context “so what’s in it for me” can sound selfish. Although, I have learned they are anything but. I used to think I needed to rely on myself to show Christ’s love. I needed to do a ton of manual labor, I needed to have the perfect speech, I need to know the answers when asked, I need to work no-stop to make it all happen the right way. Well you can guess what happened, I burnt out! It was all about me. Then it finally hit me, I can’t give useless I receive.
I finally stopped and said, “God, so what’s in it for me?”. Thats when it all changed. None of this was about me and what I could do for everyone else. I finally realized it was about what God could do for everyone including me. The missions trips were about God changing me. Allowing the people I worked with to show me God’s love too. We were all in this together. This was when true connections began to form and the light of love started to shine it brightest. My one prayer for mission Belize was that our youth would walk away with this same understanding. And in faith I believe they have.
Here are some of the beautiful photos from the trip including a Brandon selfie at the Mayan Ruins.