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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Get to know the real team 2 comments

Our Team:

*read to students on bus ride home*

The following dad jokes, are specifically for Mr. Summers and Mr. Van Woerden:

-          Can you BELIZE the trip is finished?

-          It was so good it was almost make-BELIZE.

-          We had an unBELIZEable time and can’t wait to share all our photos with you.

-          BELIZE it or not… we are returning the kids back to you…babysitting duty ends now.

-          Don’t stop BELIZING we’ll keep making these jokes for weeks to come.

We know there are so many more jokes and puns that were told to us as we rushed off to classes in the hallway prior to the trip…if only we had written them all down, you wouldn’t BELIZE the amount.

Mrs. Bomhof and I couldn’t resist having a little fun of our own for the last blog. Every night we sat and watched you think out, write, and edit (well, sort of edit…) your blog posts and then we uploaded them and added the finishing touches (mostly just comas). So to give you all a much deserved break from blog post writing (although one post really shouldn’t be that exhausting if you have Mr. DeJong as a teacher…. or so we are told), we decided to take one for the team (literally), and write you a post of our own. We have spent all week brain storming our funniest moment from the trip and our most appreciated attribute for each student. We hope you enjoy. There are many more stories than these that we shouldn’t publically share, but know those are still in our top for sure.

FM- funniest moment                                 MAA- most appreciated attribute


FM: Dear Cole.  Did you think you would get away with us not brining up your ocean holes one last time? We will never forget when a group of us were chatting in the water at Orchid Bay and we turned to see you grinning away. When we asked you what you were smiling about, you just replied with “I’m in my hole.” That’s when we realized you weren’t kneeling but had dug yourself a hole in the sand/clay so that your shoulders were at water height. You were so proud and were really passionate about sharing your holes with other teammates so they could have the same experience.

MAA: At the beginning of the week, we noticed you being a little bit more of an observer. But you quickly decided to step out of your comfort zone and dive into the action. What stood out to us most was your willingness to do things on your own. You would start playing with the students on your own, or walk up and start a conversation with the high school students from Corner Stone without needing one of your own teammates with you. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.

Sarah (aka Mini-Sarah or Crispy Sarah or Sar-bear)

FM: We have never seen someone get SO excited over mashed potatoes. Words truly cannot describe your facial expression. We both hope that you will get to enjoy many mashed potatoes in your future. Also the way you so easily go from a straight face to a full belly laugh will be missed.

MAA: You clearly have the gift of music, and leading people in worship, however, that seemed like an obvious to us. What truly stood out was your willingness to share these gifts with our team and others. Multiple nights in a row you would lead the team in worship and then still lead a small peer group in worship. You also did not hesitate to use this gift at the church and the rehab centre. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: Every time you disappeared under the water, we were never sure what you would re-surface with. It was either a rock (and a different rock every time), or a random bottle, or some other things we probably didn’t even notice. You would randomly duck under, then swim around under the water, and pop up beside someone and just smile. This always bought laughter to us….and a mini-heart attack every single time wondering when you would come up for air. Please don’t do that again.

MAA: One thing we observed this trip was your genuine interest in getting to know people. You are so intentional with every conversation you have and are not afraid to discuss deep topics. We challenge you to never top asking questions and getting to know people in multi-generations. There is so much wisdom around you and we pray that you continue to seek that out. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: You are probably laughing before we have even read anything. We’ll just give you a moment to wipe your tears. Are you ready? Okay.

We love your laugh. Literally our favourite memory of you this trip is just you laughing at EVERYTHING.  I (Mrs. Bomhof) tried this whole trip to make you laugh because it was so entertaining. I would purposefully say or do something to crack you up and I succeeded every time.

MAA: We love your sensitive spirit. You have such a fresh outlook on everything, and so many of the small moments on this trip moved you. You were challenged, stretched, and filled with joy this trip and it was a pleasure to watch each moment. We pray that you never loose this quality and don’t ever let people tell your soft or you need to toughen up. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: Watching your facial expressions this whole trip was a highlight. Back on Friday, when we first came around the corner and you saw the beach for the first time, it was hilarious. If you are curious what it looked like, please find either of us in the hallway at school and we will gladly re-enact it for you. (Head turning back and forth… “Is this for real?!”)

MAA: One of the things we both loved learning about you this trip is how stable you are. You were always there for your friends when they wanted to chat. You knew when to approach someone, or when to leave them alone. Whatever activity we did; you would always take it fully in. You dove all in into everything that was available for you. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: You probably saw this one coming. But, our funniest memory of you this trip is your ability to literally fall asleep anywhere. On the bus. In the van. Head down on a desk. Sitting at the lunch table. Sitting at the dinner table. You could probably do it at the breakfast table too. If you are unsure of why your neck is sore, please come see us for photo evidence. We captured many sleeping positions that looked extremely uncomfortable.  

MAA: We know that a lot of this trip was very outside your comfort zone. It required a lot more energy and sweat that you are maybe used to. But, despite Blake not having the ability to deliver you Starbucks at lunch every day, you still rolled with every activity we did. We are thankful for you just being willing to try new things and not complain when it wasn’t your preference. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: I can’t think of anyone else off the top of my head who is SO proud of their fast showering abilities. Every time we would see you, you would have a new record for us. Sharing top place for funniest moment, is when you crashed right into Mr. Van Eerden while swimming with Milan on your back. Oh, and thank you for coming to our room for daily activities ;)

MAA: We both loved witnessing your enthusiasm for every activity and new relationship on this trip. You were so genuinely interested in connecting with each person on our team but also every student you met. You have such a unique way of finding something in common with people and using that to bond quickly with them. It was so apparent how much you invested in each conversation and we were touched by how sad you were to say goodbye.  Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: So neither of us have been given the privilege of having you in class, so the day when you sat in in the standard 5 & 6 class was an honour. Our funniest memory of you this trip was just observing you in that class. It started with you sitting in the tiny desk in the corner. Then it was topped by you being called out and having to spit out your gum. THEN that was topped by you “falling asleep” or as you like to call it….. “resting your eyes”. We still both think you fell asleep. We wrote this in advance so after today we will also be praying that you never “lose” your checked carry on in an airport again.

MAA: You have been given the gift of compassion. Whenever a teammate expressed any sadness or discomfort you were there to check in on them and be a listening ear. You also have a beautiful way of expressing yourself through prayer. It is clear that this is an important part of your relationship with Christ and we were blessed by many of the words you prayed aloud. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: To be completely honest, your funniest moment totally caught us both off guard. When our group went swimming for the first time, we were all taken by surprise at how slippery the cement ramp was. But then. All the sudden. Out of nowhere. Comes Erin from behind launching herself down the ramp and into the water. We did not expect that from you but we found it hilarious. And this is how the penguin algae dive first began.

MAA: Your connection with the kids was amazing. We appreciated how you would take a step back and would look at the kids who weren’t necessarily extraverted, athletic or jumping on our team’s backs and that’s who you pursued. Whether intentional or not, you have an incredible way of connecting with those who may not always be included. For example, starting a game of stella-stella-hola with girls sitting on the sidelines of the soccer game. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: Where do we even begin?! Darius, you are hilarious. We have a secret page (and by page we mean multiple pages) of funny things/quotes from this trip. I think you would be proud to know that over 70% of these moments include you. We first thought your reaction to the chicken that resembled you was the funniest moment. BUT then we looked at each and both remembered… the charging chord belt. No more needs to be said.

MAA: You so perfectly balance having a blast and laughing with your peer group (and taking the shots that us leaders gave you- and yes, we know that there were many), but then switching to being so caring and passionate for truly helping people. We loved when we heard that you felt your heart strings tugged when the one student, Angel, didn’t have headphones to listen to music. We both pray that you continue to learn to hold both these qualities in tandem and don’t let one of them go. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: Only you would go all the way to Belize to buy a huge box of Lucky Charms. We both found it so funny whenever you would be found walking around with the box, giving out handfuls. We especially loved how protective you were over the marshmallows, even calling out Mr. Van Eerden for “just taking marshmallows.”

MAA: Even on days when the activities weren’t your preference, or there were lots of food you couldn’t eat, we never once heard a complaint leave your lips. You are so adaptable. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate this!!!! You were also always committed to being present with whoever you were with, always there for the laughter and conversations. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: We always had to chuckle at how you addressed us both so differently. Although we both gave you the okay to use our first names, Mrs. Bomhof was always called Sarah… or even “kiddo/kidlet” by the end while Ms. Krieg was only called Alexis once in the airport to get her attention. We find this even funnier because you clearly respect Ms. Krieg more even though Mrs. Bomhof is older.

MAA: It feels cliché to mention your photography skills but it truly was such an appreciated quality. And not only because you are amazing at taking photos, but because you did so selflessly because you knew it would bless others. You know that others love to have those memories captured so you gave up your afternoon at the elementary school to ensure those relationships were being saved on camera. Can’t wait to see all of the pictures!! Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: It funny watching how quietly judgemental the little kiddlets were of your fruit cutting skills. You were doing fantastic with the little exacto-knife, but it was hilarious for us to observe some of the little facial expressions when the orange was not 100% cut evenly in half. You rocked that job!

MAA: We really appreciated how inquisitive you were throughout the trip. Even though we didn’t always have the answer, you still continued to ask us questions. This is a fantastic way to learn not only about a new culture, but even the environment we live in back home. We also both loved watching you interact with the primary students. Neither of us have seen you in this capacity before, and just truly enjoyed watching how much fun you had with those students. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: You would come into our rooms and ask about the most random things. Either it was using the facilities (because you were worried about your legs being jacked from all the stairs you have been doing…insert calf jiggle), coming in to just enjoy the A/C, needing a piece of gum (it was literally never more than just one stick of gum), chapstick, a drink from our fridge, or really just about anything. We also had a lot of good laughs any time we could make you feel uncomfortable. Thank you for sharing certain experiences with us (holes).

MAA: First off, I (Ms. Krieg) just wanted to say thank you for letting me adopt you as my fake little sister for the week. I love that our office chats didn’t stop even though we were in Belize. We both loved when you would come sit in our room or sit with us at Blue’s and we could laugh and chat about random things. We both see a lot of ourselves in you, which makes watching you experience new things that much more meaningful. Thank you for being so adaptable and bouncing around to different friends all trip long. I (Sarah) hope you didn’t mind too much having your sister as a leader because I sure loved sharing this experience with you. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.


FM: Every trip….and by every trip we mean every time we went into the white vans, there were plenty of seat options. This also included 15 wonderful seats in the A/C van. But no. Every time (from the very first trip home from the airport) Jae opted for the very uncomfortable looking front middle seat in the dusty, beat up, open, no A/C white van. We still don’t understand how that seat was comfortable, or why one would keep choosing it. But, nevertheless, we also giggled as we drove by in the A/C van and we saw you propped up, hair bun touching the roof, and smiling away in that front middle seat.

MAA: Something we both appreciated this trip was your willingness to be sweaty this trip. Yes, this may sound odd. But each time there was a sport or running/moving activity option, you were always more than willing to hop right on in. Whether it was playing chicken fly with the high school students, being very passionate about rock-paper-scissors, or running around with the preschool kids, you did it all. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip. 


FM: Please explain to us how someone can swim for over an hour in waist deep water and not touch the ground? We know that you aren’t the tallest person on the team…but this is still a very impressive skill. Our funniest memory was when we realized why you hadn’t touched the ground. How did you describe it? Soggy mashed potatoes? So of course, being the caring team that we are, we pulled your little toes down to the sand and “assisted” you in having the true Belize ocean experience. Squishy toes and all.

MAA: Milan, you showed maturity beyond your years this trip. You probably get that a lot, especially being the older sibling. But we can’t tell you enough how much we valued this quality. Not just your maturity, but your processing and awareness is superb. You demonstrate a high level of thinking, not just in your actions, but in your questioning. We pray that you continue to seek individuals who will continue to challenge you and grow you in this area. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.

Toby & Josh

FM: Well. Where do I even begin with my sister wives?! It only makes sense to do your funniest moment together as the iconic duo that you are. I will never get over how in a day you went from finding me annoying (Toby), to escalating jokes so much that we became sister wives. There are many pages in my journal dedicated to your comments. And I can’t wait to share them with OUR husband Eric. Also, Ms. Krieg looks forward to when she can become sister wives with you too.

MAA: How much you love Eric and are willing to share him with me …. but for realz….

Josh- You obviously have the gift of humour. But what we really found fascinating was your unique way of using it to bring unlikely people together. You use your humour so well to relate to people and it makes people comfortable to be around you. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.

Toby- We really admired your ability to fill random spaces with conversation. It was often that we would hear….”Mrs. Bomhof….or Ms. Krieg…did you know (fill in the blank)”. No Toby, we did not know that. But we appreciated you giving us random tidbits about life. This quality is much loved by fellow introverts as we can always rely on you to carry on a conversation. Thanks for giving us something to laugh about (with you of course) and admire on this trip.

Roy: Don’t think you got away without a story because you’re not a student!

FM: Even as we wrote this, we both couldn’t stop laughing about your punctuation pronunciations. That was so unexpected and you had the whole team laughing. It got even better the next night when your lips were too frozen to do it properly. And that was the night where you couldn’t control your laughter about the Brandsmas’ comment snuck in to make you do as many “!!!” sounds as possible.

We also loved laughing until we all three were crying about the timing of you knocking on our door… but today you timed it really well so thank you (no more explanation needed).

MAA: We were both so amazed by your ability to connect with anyone. You are so intentional about getting to know people and their life story which is a characteristic we both greatly admire. We enjoyed our evening chats and belly laughter with your glasses off, head back, crying with laughter as we caught you up on all of the funny stories of the day. It was a pleasure to lead this team with you. Thanks for always looking like the only leader on this trip. Love students #19 and #20.


That’s all for us! Signing off for one last time.

-          Love your team moms

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dope Old Rocks 5 comments

Our last day started with an early morning in order to catch the sunrise peaking on the horizon over the water. Following that, breakfast began at 6:15. We prepared for our departure as we set off on our last adventure in this amazing place. We took our usual route and arrived at Cornerstone High School to pick up the students we were spending the day with. The more time we spent with the high schoolers the more our conversations became more natural and connections began to build. The drive was long but beautiful, and after a period of driving on the paved road, the bus began driving on a bumpy dirt road. In a matter of time we arrived at the entrance of the Mayan ruins, can’t remember what it is called, oh wait…Toby told me it is called the Lamanai Ruins. It was pretty dope. There were a lot of huge temples that had grass on them and they were made out of cement stones. I don’t think any of us really understood how high they were until we walked to the top of them. They were huge… like massive, gigantic, enormous, really big, dope, etc. If you looked in the right spots you could spot monkeys relaxing on the highest branches of the trees. The whole place was like stepping into another era; an ancient civilization so different from ours. The tour guide also talked about wack stuff like human sacrifice and stuff like that, but we didn’t really pay attention to that part as much, or at all… oops not supposed to say that (Darius & Toby). After the tours, the group had time to look through the gift shops, and all we will say is that you parents shouldn’t be worried when big knives show up in your kid’s suitcase. Then we ate TAMALES for lunch, and they were amazing, delicious, exquisite, fantastic, mouth-watering, dope, etc.

After the tour of the ruins, we drove through the massive Mennonite community (called Shipyard) located in our area of Belize. It was shocking, interesting, perspective altering, all around dope. As we drove through we noticed the area was void of some things. There were little to no cars at all, and no real technology of any sort. There were horses and cows in every field along with people of all ages dressed in traditional Mennonite clothing scattered across the properties. It seemed almost fake that a completely different and unique culture could exist alongside the Belizean lifestyle. At the very end of the day we all rode home on the bus, stupid tired of heat exhaustion. As this was going on the bus was kind of split, half were bumping to music in the back of the bus, while others were sleeping. We began the sad process of dropping kids of at stops and eventually came to a stop back at cornerstone school. Pictures were taken, numbers were exchanged, and goodbyes were said. Leaving exhausted, but satisfied, we arrive back at the hotel to end a great day out.

We also just met this really cool Belizean guy, Dad (Carden) you would have loved him. He was so kind he even offered us a blunt! Don’t worry none of us took it, mostly because Mr. Van Eerden came but also because we are good kids ;)

Hope you enjoyed our blog!!!!!!

Signed. Darius, Toby, and Maria  

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Mom! There were SO many kids 6 comments

Yo Mom I’m writing the blog tonight. Today was yet another wonderful day in Belize. We started our day off like every other morning; showing up to breakfast late and meeting with the team. We ate the equivalent of Belizean pancakes and watermelon. Once we finished our meal we got into our two fifteen passenger vans and headed off to the first elementary school of the day. After about fifteen minutes we arrived at Presbyterian Day School. We split up into groups of three and were assigned a class room for the morning. Walking into the class rooms, we were greeted by heads turning and smiles that lit up the room as well as our hearts. Class started off as normal with a variety of subjects depending on grade level. As the day went on the kids became increasing difficult to control. Restless excitement built up as we waited for break to start. The bell rang and within seconds we were running around, playing tag, reading books, etc. Unlike us, the kids seemed unbothered by the heat and seemed to be able to run forever. Within minutes we gringos (white peoples) were exhausted. Once the bell for class rang, we headed back to class in an attempt to learn… it didn’t go too well. The defeated teachers gave the students the rest of the day off to spend time with us in the field outside their school. We played soccer, gave the kids cooch (their word for piggybacks) and casually chatted amongst them. Then we said our final goodbyes to the kids and boarded the bus in preparation for the next school.

After another fifteen minutes of driving we arrived at Conception Elementary school. There we ate lunch and snacks before being put into a new set of classrooms. We helped the children with their school work and before we knew it the day was over and it was time for us to play against the kids in a friendly soccer match. Judging by the size of the kids, we were not expecting them to destroy us at the sport, but, they proved us wrong. Running circles around us we shortly realized that they were going to be a lot better then we had thought. Those that didn’t player soccer spent time on the playground. After the game both Canadians and Belizeans were out of breath and exhausted from the heat. We retreated inside to cool off and enjoy our last few minutes with the children. All of our team agrees that saying goodbye to the children was one of the hardest things we have done so far. Although we were sad seeing the children go, we found comfort in knowing the impact we had on these kids and the impact they had on us.

We got back to the hotel with time on our hands to swim in the ocean and get drinks at a sea side restaurant (leaders said no to alcohol). We spent time unwinding and bonding as a team.


-Evan and Josh



Josh: Mom can we have steak for dinner once I get back???

Evan: Mom hurry up and finish moving all our stuff so I don’t need to when I get back J

Josh: Mom, tell dad to buy steak.

Evan: Kent, finish whatever project you are working on so I can actually have time to sleep.

Josh: I want garlic bread too.

Evan: Don’t forget to pick me up at school on Friday, I’m not walking again.

Josh: I want mine medium rare.

Evan: Mom can I eat at Josh’s on Friday??

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Cultural Day 3 comments

Our morning began like any other. Breakfast at 7:15 with a bunch of sleepy teenagers. Squeezing into two large vans, we went on our way back to the Cornerstone High School. After we arrived, we set up our own Canadian booth which displayed pictures of the seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. We also set out books, mini hockey sticks and pucks, Canadian flags and fun pencils. We found it interesting to see and learn about the different cultures in Belize from the students who all dressed up according to their culture. It was fun to embrace and experience the different cultures including receiving a bindi dot from the Hindu tent and trying the traditional Mayan and Mestizo dishes. As students came up to our booth, they were fascinated by the snow and tulip pictures.

As the day transitioned into afternoon, we shared lunch as a team together and played volleyball with some of the students from the school. We met a student named Angel who talked with a bunch of us and shared his taste of music with Darius. We are thankful for the opportunity to bond with the students and share in their passions and interests.

After, we cleaned up our booth and headed out on the bus to the Jacob Rehabilitation centre. Inside, we were able to meet the 11 men who were staying there. We sang three songs for them: Rescuer, Your Grace is Enough, and My Lighthouse which they all appreciated. Afterwards, Ishmael, the director of the centre, took all of us on a tour of the tilapia farm. We were shown the tilapia pools, goats, and adorable baby bunnies which we were able to hold. While everyone else carried on with the rest of the tour, Steven, Cole and Blake thought this would be a great opportunity to put in a quick “swole session” (Blake) by lifting some weights that were sitting nearby in the grass.

After the tour, the men staying at the centre graciously offered us fresh coconuts from the trees growing there. We enjoyed the sweet taste of the water and freshly shaved coconut. As our stay at the centre came to a close we hopped on the humid and hot bus and headed back to the hotel.

Upon our arrival, some of us swam, some of us napped, and then we walked to a café nearby for some cold drinks.

We spent our evening as usual, hanging together as a group, debriefing the day and worshipping together.

Thanks to all the parents for your continued support, prayers and encouragements!

Signing off…

Sarah, Steven and Erin H

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