January 11, 2012

A special thank-you from Unity school

Barrie HANDS Team:

Today was a very special day at Unity.  The morning's work involved building and installing more forms for concrete and running electrical conduit through the walls.  At 10:30 the students invited us to the church next door for a special assembly of thanks to God and us.  They gave us cards, shared many hugs, and sang songs like, “Lean on Me” and “You Are So Special.”  For all of us it was a very touching moment to see their joy and thanks. 

Lunch-time fun with the kids saw Paul in a serious game of basketball, Daryl in a fierce game of tag (ie. 10 against 1), and good playground fun with Megan, Keaton, and Natasha.  The afternoon was spent at work again, including Daryl and the girls leading the grade 7 class in a fun competition to build the tallest tower out of 40 marshmallows and tookthpicks.  We reflected on I Peter 2, that we, "like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."  The physical and spiritual buildings here are rising hand-in-hand, to the glory of God!

As we near the close of the trip, we’re grateful to EduDeo for their organizational wisdom and spiritual leadership.  The funds raised have gone toward to materials and even local labour, which otherwise would have been impossible for this community.  God is good!  Some of the funds pay for our food and lodging as well.  So between our volunteered labour, money for supplies, and enough to pay for our three Belizean coworkers, God has provided a triple blessing!  A special word of thanks was expressed during devotions tonight for the expertise of Emmanuel, Omar, and Luciano – three great Christian brothers!  They’ve taught us how to do the work and create an atmosphere of fun and Christian love.  

As you can tell from one of the photos, you can see quite far from the second-story roof.  You get a real bird’s eye view the neighbourhood and far beyond, including the enormous cruise ships moored in the sea.  They tote passengers inland all day long for shopping or day trips to the reefs, Mayan ruins, or other attractions.  In fact 30% of the Belize economy is now tourism-based. 

Although the cruise ships may seem like a cruel contrast to the impoverished neighbourhood we’re serving, many people make a make a living from it.  For instance the Christian family living right next to the church sells hardwood carvings in the tourist shops (and to us!).  All day long we can hear Mr. Williams sawing and grinding away.  We’ve visited his ‘shop’ (which doubles as the front porch), and you can tell he’s very proud to be making such beautiful things and providing for his family through it. 

After a week of hard work in hot weather (and being ahead of schedule!), we’re looking forward to a ‘cultural day’ at sea.  Many Belizeans have asked us what impressions we have of their country, and if we don’t mention the seas and coral reefs they’re quick to let us know.  It’s a real source of pride here, also reflected in the high fines for touching or taking coral.  So tomorrow we’ll experience an excursion to one of their ceyes (pronounced ‘keys’, as in Florida Keys).  We’ll snorkel in shallow water with fish, sharks (small harmless ones!), and of course the colourful coral.  We’re so grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to see this part of his creation. 

May God bless your day and the evening’s rest.  We’ll see you soon!


Jen, Rachel, Taya, Mikayla
Jan 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

We are so thankful to our God for this experience that you have had, and shared with us throughout the time you've been gone. It has been a blessing to many to be able to read through each day, the progress you have made, physically and spiritually. We look forward to your return home!!

David, Rachel, Jillian, and Ryan
Jan 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Enjoy your last day in Belize Hands Team! This trip looks like it will leave a lasting impression on both the community you're serving and yourselves. We look forward to your arrival home and the many life-changing stories you will tell. God Bless you on your last day and your travels back home. :) Jillian can't wait to hear your stories Grandpa. :)

Jan 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Wow, memories of my trip to Belize--although you have accomplished so much more building and work. Have fun snorkelling, and special hi to Keaton; I didn't even know I had a relative on this trip! God bless you all for your work. May it change their lives and your lives forever. -Vince VanderVeen

Jan 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

It certainly looks and sounds like God has given you all wonderful experiences and new relationships. Awesome! May you enjoy your last days in Belize and a safe journey home.

Leave a comment
Email address will
not be published
Required field.
Required, don't worry, it will not be published.
Please include a comment!
Keep in mind, all comments are public.