April 20, 2012

Paul Says It Best

Bramalea HANDS Team:

This will be my final blog entry made while still in Belize but surely not my last words on this experience - "Paul's First Missionary Journey" as it were.

So what am I returning home with? Well it would appear to be a pretty descent chest cold for sure but fortunately that only developed after the work was completed last night. However that's by far the least of it.
Do I have some souviners for family? Sure. Do I have lots of pictures and video footage? Obviously. A suitcase full of well worn work clothes, a few sore muscles that I didn't know I had, a closer relationships with my teammates? Yes to all of these.

And what about the work itself - do I have a feeling of satisfaction of leaving things a little bit better than the way we found them? Yes, it certainly is satisfying to see that as a rag-tag team of various ages and skills we were able to cross all the tasks off of our To Do list and even sneak in bonus work on one classroom yesterday before we left the school for the final time  - at least for this visit to Belize and New Life Presbyterian School.

However, what I'll really be taking home from Belize is me - 10 days older and with a wealth of data to process about what I have seen and heard. The most important memories will be of the people. Ruth and Mario are people who shy away from any personal praise and always give glory to God first and foremost. Regardless, their single mindedness of mission and purpose has made a powerful impact on my view of my own faith in Jesus Christ and relationship with him. Several times over the course of our stay, several have commented about how they are living their faith and mission each day and every hour of their lives. They work tirelessly for the children and the school and then served us delicious meal after meal after meal, many of them in their own home. Can I say the same of my focus on the mission that God has given me as I look at my 10-12 hour-a-day at the office, Blackberry driven life in Canada? The answer is clearly no.

These two are representative of the people we met here like Pastor Leo and Emmanuel who we worked with closely each day. Always with a smile, an active practice of thankfulness and a ready "Motivation Check" witha response of "I've got it!!".  No matter what it was, no matter what tools may or may not be at hand, or obstacles to be faced.

Coming from Canada and having spent my whole life there, I know what I have been given in terms of how God has blessed me. However, now I have a better way of better understanding it and what I need to be doing with it. Ruth said it best as we talked a ew nights ago, and it's and old expression but one that has a proper context for me now. "od doesn't give me what I want. He gives me what I need."

So, with closing memories of our trip here being the inaurgural use of the 3rd floor autidtorium for their weekly chapel session (anybody who is against prayer in schools needed to be there!!!!) what I'm left with is application in my life of what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13 which has been on my Facebook Info page for a long time, but now with new context:

"11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. "



Apr 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

Beautiful closing words Paul. Thanks for keeping us informed through the blog - with such wonderful writing. Many times I could picture exactly what was going on. You have all been truly blessed - for it is in giving that we receive!

Apr 21, 2012 at 1:48 am

Tremendous to read how the Lord has blessed you, the team, and the people of Orange Walk through this opportunity, Paul. I look forward to seeing your pics and videos and hearing more about it face-to-face when I'm back in Canada next year

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