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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Prayers, Praises and Thankfulness 0 comments

Our Team:

Back home again, it's been several days now, strange that I need time re-ajust,  get back into my Canadian routine and yet its only been 12 days, my wife says I'm always that way when I get back. Anybody else have those feelings? It was a great trip, so good to see a team gel together as one cohesive unit. I believe we were a blessing to the children of Unity Presbyterian School, the teachers, Ernest and Carolyn Betson. When I reflect on who gained more, I must admit that perhaps it is us, we will see each other during the week , and on Sundays to remind ourselves, to encourage each other on what we received from the Belizean children and parents we interacted with. We rest assured that God will continue the work there and in all parts of the world until His plan is complete but let us not forget to pray, pray and pray for Pastor Betson who has a grand vision with a tremendous work load, to much for one man, one couple. He is a man who utters " you are special and I love you" to almost everyone he meets, especially the children and I believe he does that because many of the children who come from broken/abusive homes where a kick or punch or a slap is the mentality. Much work is still needed.
   God is alive and well in Belize, we saw proof of that, His grace extends in every direction, we saw the power of prayer, the power of laying on of hands. Things we will never forget. Belizans are gratefully to the Canadian government for the support given, for the rebuilding help after severe storms, for the sewage systems and Can-Bel bridge which tied the city infrastructure together.
   There is something special when 12 - 13 people are together for an extended time, seven men in one small bedroom could have dire consequences but that did not happen. Working together, joking, teasing one another, playing games and sharing will give us a lasting responsibility to each other. From getting together early in the year planning, fundraising with many activities from leaf raking, serving at anniversary and wedding receptions, dinner for seniors and our congregation, all of these activities served to having successful service trip. We thank all those who supported us and helped us surpass our goal.
   However it was our evening devotion time that was a highlight for many us, something we know is so important but rarely take the time to do at home. Pastor Bernie and his wife, two team members, had prepared 10 devotions,"Faith That Works" based on various versus from James 1 to 5. Each night started with our overall impressions  of the day, what I noticed, what made me think or what challenged me and then we read the pertaining passage and discussed who it pertained to our day our life/situation.
A sample of the titles:
Day 1  Grins and Groans                 Day- 2  Sunburn and Son-shine     Day 3 Blisters and High Fives          Day 4 Backaches and Beauty         Day 5 Hurries and Hum-drum           Day 6 Paints and Pains
Day 7 Bruises and Blessings            Day 8 Aches & Hallelujahs             Day 9 Sweats & Sweets                    Day 10 Prayers & Praises  

Devotions ended with prayer and some songs It was good, thanks Bernie and Linda. Our nights usually ended with some card games, Five Crowns being the favourite.  Lastly we give thanks to staff of EduDeo Ministries, especially Tim Bootsma and Anita VanGeest who do so much to make all this work so well and smooth.
May all that we do be to the Glory and Honour of our Father in heaven

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Unity Presbyterian School 0 comments

Hanging in the school was the schools mission statement:

We are committed to engaging all members of the community in the process of providing a learning environment that fosters independence, embraces changes, and values diversity.  Our mission is to implement and infuse the curriculum into a life-long learning experience so that our children be responsible citizens prepared to enter their world.  Through this programme of studies our children will acquire the basic skills, knowledge and understanding required to be successful spiritually, academically and socially.


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Thursday, December 1, 2011

San Pedro - Ambergris Caye Island 0 comments

EduDeo Ministries always includes a day away from the work site for all HANDS teams, a cultural appreciation day you might say. Pastor Ernest Betson, arranged for us to go the town of San Pedro on the Ambergris Caye Island for the day with some time for snorkelling, lunch and a walk thru the town. We were able to walk to our water taxi and left around 8am, the ride was approx. an hour and half with a quick stop at Caye Caulker Is. Our snorkelling guide was waiting for us and we headed immediately to the Barrier Reef. Most of us had never snorkelled but with some brief instruction we were all in the water. Hard to believe but our guide, born and raised on the island with perfect english has only ever left the island once and that was to Guatemala City for an operation. I have to say that I, (our team which ranges from 18 to 76),  was so impressed with Sandra K and Leo V swimming with nurse (nur)sharks and investigating a whole new world. The water was so clear and the colours and intricacies of the reef and variety of fish was just awesome.
History & geography
Ambergris Caye is the largest and most northern of Belize's islands. It is twenty five miles long and parallels Belize's barrier reef. Ambergris Caye, once claimed by Mexico, is separated from Mexico only by a narrow channel. Ambergris Caye is located east of the Corozal District. Its main town of San Pedro is about 36 miles from Belize City. Like Caye Caulker, Ambergris is a limestone coral island. It has cool tropical breezes and is literally a stones throw from the Barrier Reef in some places. 

During the Mayan period, Ambergris Caye was a trading post. Ruins have been excavated throughout the island, including the Marco Gonzales site, the Basil Jones site, and in San Pedro town. 

Ambergris is the most commercially developed of the islands. It has quite a few luxurious hotels and an avid night life. There is also considerable real estate interest on Ambergris as most of the northern end of the island is not yet developed. Although there is a small fishing industry, the main source of income of this once buccaneering and whaling caye is tourism. 

Most of the 2000+ residents of Ambergris are of Mestizo-Spanish descent. Spanish is mostly spoken although everyone does speak English. Like their sister island of Caye Caulker they are from fishing families. The island does employ a number of people from the other districts, mainly Belize City. 


San Pedro Town
The main town on Ambergris caye is San Pedro Town. It is a mile or so long and encompasses only a few street blocks. Most of the houses are wooden with zinc roofed houses. San Pedro town is the heart of Ambergris Caye and offers a wide range of restuarants, bars, souvenir shops, and banks. Since the airstrip is also located in town, most resorts and hotels are only a hop, skip & a jump away.

The main means of transportation are golf carts however bicycles, scooters, and some cars and vans are also available. The streets are sandy and unpaved so be sure to leave your fancy clothes and high heel shoes at home. There are no traffic lights, no freeways or highways, and no highrise buildings.

The atmosphere on San Pedro is very casual. The dress of the day is usually shorts and sandals (if you can't handle being barefoot). 


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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last Working Day 0 comments

It's approx. 5am and there are small signs of a new day dawning. I sleep beside the door and I hear the creaking of a bed, someone starting to rise and sneaking quietly out of the room. It seems each day just before the sun begins to rise more of us are getting up to get a glimpse of the picturesque view from our host's home. Walking out onto a large victorian style porch,and looking out to the east, you can see the sparkling lights of the cruise ships anchored in the bay, sometimes as many as five with passengers ready to disembark for a day of exploring Belize City and surrounding area. It's 5:30 and the sparkling shadows of the sun are beginning to show on the water and with each passing minute one can see the wondrous creative hand of God as when he first created the heavens and the earth.
   The coffee is on, the kitchen is bustling with activity, whats on the menu----hard boiled eggs, creole bread, some left over bacon, peanut butter and jam. We're anticipating a heavy day, Harry has outlined the days objective and soon we head for the bus and we're off, with of course, a stop for water, ice and a stop at the local fruit market for our watermelon.
    By now each of us have found our grove, some starting with preparing more column forms, others removing forms from the last of the lintels poured the previous day, the gals continue with tying rebar, with each column needing 6 lengths of 5/8in. rebar tied in a 8 by 10 formation. Emmanuel, Omar and Luciano continue placing the forms for the columns, a dangerous undertaking as one person stands outside a small scaffold with one 12in board and the rest of us start mixing concrete which will be a continuous chore for the day.
   Our day, was wonderfully interrupted with a surprise invitation for all of us to come to the church, were we were greeted by all the children and teachers of the school. This was a complete surprise as we had no inkling that they were preparing a thank you and good-by ceremony. Principal, Carolyn Betson, thanked us for coming, a special card was given to the team from the pre-school kids and each class came up and gave hand made cards to all of us, all with much hugging, laughing and just enjoying each other. It concluded with a small choral singing, " Lean on Me when you'r not strong". Its been said many times, the eyes and infectious smiles of the kids, make it all worthwhile. God is good and faithful and we trust that He will continue to bless the work of the staff and the Betson's
    At the end of the day 4 columns are poured, we clean up the site and as we drive back we reflect on what we accomplished and experienced and although much was done our feelings and inner thoughts were bitter sweet as we only have one day left, here in Belize---- but it will be a great day!

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