View all HANDS Teams
Friday, January 15, 2016

Back home safe and sound 0 comments

Our Team:

We have landed safe and sound and we are just getting though customs now.  Thanks for all of your thoughts, prayers and support.  We look forward to sharing our stories with you in person.  This is it for the blog.  Until next time... Signing off!

view full article…

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The last day in Belize… 1 comment

It is hard for us to believe that it is already our last day in Belize.  It seems like the previous nine days have flown right by.  As much as we are looking forward to being with our family and friends again, it is difficult for us to leave behind our new friends in Belize.

In terms of material accomplishments, we completed many projects that make the room almost ready to use.  In terms of electrical work, wiring of lights (indoor and outdoor), plugs and fans is complete and working.  Windows and doors have been installed and only some minor finishing work remains.  Railings and concrete piers have been poured on the second storey.  A great amount of painting has taken place.  The work space looks quite different from when we first arrived.  May the work we have done here be only to the glory of God, and not for our own boasting.

In terms of relationships, we have gotten to know each other as fellow teammates and Christians.  We have broken out of our ‘normal’ circles at church and gotten to have a whole new respect for the people on our amazing team.  We have tested our limits, expanded our limits, and grown in our Christian walk.  Also of great importance to us are the relationships we formed with the people in Cristo Rey.  They have fed us amazing meals, and graciously accepted us coming alongside them in their challenges and celebrations.  The younger team members were able to form friendships with many of the school children during classroom time and recess and football/soccer after school.  The other team members enjoyed working with ‘Nacho’ (Narciso) on the projects around the school, picking up supplies, and the travelling to and from the worksite.  Our time in Belize has certainly been blessed.

In the afternoon, our team was invited to an assembly with all the teachers and students.  The students thanked us, sang for us, and presented us with cards, crafts, and letters of thanks.  This was an amazing moment for both the students and the team.

Tomorrow we will travel home.  Our plane is schedule to land somewhere around 11:30pm.  Although we will be leaving Belize, our thoughts and memories from this trip will stay with us for ages.  The Lord is at work in Belize, and there is still plenty of work left to do. 

Prayer Requests:

-          Praise and thanksgiving for our awesome Lord and Saviour

-          Thanksgiving for the health and safety we experienced on the worksite

-          Thanksgiving for the Lord’s presence and blessing on this trip

-          Thanksgiving for all the support we received from home (thank you for reading the blog and keeping us in your prayers)

-          May the staff and students at Presbyterian Day School be encouraged and blessed by the work we were able to accomplish and the relationshsips we formed

-          Request for smooth and safe travels home tomorrow

view full article…

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What is the progress so far? 1 comment

This morning we started at a Redeemer Presbyterian Preschool, which has been a project location for previous HANDS teams.  The preschool children where all very happy to be in school and were being taught by a teacher that is very passionate about teaching.  What a blessing it was for our team to see a building built by a previous team being used for education and sharing the gospel.  It is our prayer that the projects we have been working on will also be well used for the same purpose.  Presbyterian Day School has the passionate teachers, and soon they will be a few steps closer to having more useable space at PDS.

Today, we reached a milestone in our electrical wiring project.  Sion has been leading some team members in installing wires, light fixtures, outlets, and switches.  After days of working on this, we were able to power the circuits today!  The lights and plugs all worked.  It was exciting to see a project through from start to finish – then we learned we can install fans tomorrow.

In addition to electrical, other team members are installing railings around the second storey.  The railings are pipes that have their ends fixed in concrete piers.  Installing railings involves:  cutting pipes, making rebar cages to reinforce the piers, making forms for the piers, drilling holes into existing concrete, then the concrete can be mixed and poured into the form.  Clearly, this is no small task… good thing there are so many people to help out!

We haven’t only been building a school on this trip.  This evening at devotions we reflected on how well we have bonded as a team.  All of us knew a few people on the team before leaving Canada, but now each of us can call each other friends.  One of the lesser advertised benefits of a HANDS trip is the relationships that are formed among the participants.  When we return home in few days, we will bring with us a newfound appreciation for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Prayer Requests:

-          Praise and thanksgiving for our loving Saviour

-          Thankfulness for learning more about God and His work in Belize

-          Thankfulness for learning more about God’s work in each of our lives and our team member’s lives

-          Thankfulness for health and safety experienced on our trip so far

-          Request for continued health and safety on the last working day and upcoming traveling

-          Request for blessing as we say goodbye to Belize and the people we worked with and form whom we have worked

view full article…

Monday, January 11, 2016

What do kids do for fun in Belize? 2 comments

Today was an action packed day.  We heard the weather report from back home, so we will keep quiet about our +23˚C wind chill and steady onslaught of sunshine.  Joking aside, we kept our family and friends back home and their safety in our thoughts and prayers.

We started off by exploring the market in Belize and picking up additional building supplies.  We arrived at the jobsite, had lunch, and went on a tour of Conception Presbyterian School (elementary level) in the nearby village of Conception, and Cornerstone Presbyterian High School.  After the tours, we were able to get some work done at Presbyterian Day School before dinner.

In the time that we spent at PDS in Cristo Rey, and at the other schools, and all over Belize, we have observed kids at play outdoors.  Our team’s younger members have enjoyed several games of “catch catch” (tag), football (soccer), hide and go seek (which includes scaling the building walls and hiding on the roof).  While we were driving, we have seen kids playing other games in front yards.  We have observed some kids carrying miniature loads of sugar cane on toy trucks.  One groups of youth in Cristo Rey had even constructed their own riding go-cart/wagon device.

On the other side of the coin, we have observed televisions in some households, and one of the principals was visited made note of the increasing prevalence of cell phones in his students’ hands.  The trends that we have observed in Canada are also visible in Belize.

We are grateful for the many ways in which God has revealed himself to us and our Belizean brothers and sisters.  He has proved his faithfulness to the Christian schools that we have visited.  He has shown us the common struggles that we all experience in Canada and Belize.  At the beginning of this experience, we focussed on the differences between us and Belize; now as we have spent more time with the people in Belize, God has shown us that we share a lot in common and that we have a lot to learn from each other.

Prayer Requests:

-          Praise and Thanksgiving for our awesome Lord and Saviour

-          Thanksgiving for the health and safety we have experienced so far

-          Request continued health and safety for the remainder of our trip

view full article…