My first time going to the Grand Canyon was an indescribable feeling. My breath was taken away. It wasn’t what I thought it was. I thought it was a puny little canyon, but no, it was way more than that. Right away I took my phone to capture the beauty of the canyon. Honestly, you cannot compare the incredible grandeur of the Grand Canyon.
As we went throughout the day, we drove to the Desert View Watchtower and saw a different part of the canyon. Again, it was breath-taking. The architectural works of the tower were unbelievable. We spent some time there and drove back to the Visitor Center to take pictures with the group.
I can’t get over the fact that God had this incredible plan for the Grand Canyon. Just like He had a plan for the Canyon, He has a plan for us to make us beautiful and to help others learn about His creation!
Celia Cruz – Weimar Academy Freshman
Leaving from our lodgings at 6:15 am, Miss Amanda drove a small group of us to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon. We got there at about 6:40 am and the sun didn’t rise until 7:21 am so it was still pretty dark. When we first got there we could barely see anything. The only thing we could see was a faint, orange glow in the horizon. Gradually it started to get brighter, letting us see more and more of the canyon. The canyon started to look deeper and bigger while it was getting brighter. It was amazing!
While we were standing there waiting for the sunrise, it started to get colder until it started to snow! At first it was just a tiny bit, but then it started to snow harder. Because of the wind and snow it was pretty cold, so some of us decided to get creative by taking our hair and making a “beard” to keep our faces warm. Overall, it was colder than I expected but It was so worth it! I made some memories that I will never forget and enjoyed God’s nature in a way I have never experienced before!
Sorry that they are not sequential. Here are just a few updates from our trip. God is good and has been blessing abundantly!
12:00 am, we were off. On to first San Fransisco, then to Oakland next. Through all of our travels, I finally happen to land in a seat next to a man who seemed quiet. After most of the plane ride he finally asked what I was doing, and I then shared with him that we were a school on a mission trip to do health clinics, construction, and some religious meetings. He then just sat there and said, “Wow.” And sat there stunned.
It was exciting to see that through just this simple interaction, God could not only just amaze someone, but could also show them that there are some youth out there today that still love to help others and love God too.
The ride from the airport to MOVE was quite the adventure! We piled into the bus and bounced down the dusty road, hair blowing like crazy in our natural “air conditioning.” We excitedly pointed out coconut trees, houses on stilts, funny signs, and chatted about our anticipations. Driving past cinderblock structures and wooden shacks along roads carved out of the jungle, the contrast between our new surroundings and California was quite evident. Suddenly, the bus jerked to a stop and we saw the currier and an officer who had helped us get all of our luggage past customs and into our bus jump out of the car in front of us. They were yelling, “Did you take the knapsack?” We looked through the luggage and sure enough, there was the currier’s backpack in our stuff! It reminded me somewhat of how Benjamin and the rest of Joseph’s brothers must have felt when the Egyptian guards discovered the golden goblet in his grain sack. I held my breath as I thought about the trouble we could be in and we hadn’t even been in Belize for one hour! Thankful the man was happy just to have his knapsack back and we headed along our way watching the sun set behind the beautiful Belize jungle.
We all get assigned to work and each day we get to experience a new area. Some of the projects are painting, building a porch, putting gravel on the paths, agriculture, and some other various jobs. On this particular day we worked from 2:30-6:00. One of the most satisfying things is to see the end product of what you worked on and the appreciation of the people here at MOVE and knowing that the work will help them.
Thursday WOP – Tyler Whitsett
Title: “Overcoming pantyhose addictions”
Sometimes your best memories come from some very embarrassing situations. I have lived in the mission field for 15 years of my life and know this to be true. One such occasion happened when I was giving one of six week of prayer talks. Prior to the trip I had chosen to be a part of the team of people giving the talks. The topic of the week of prayer series was to be on overcoming and each one of us would talk about a different addiction to overcome. I chose to talk about media addictions because I knew I could relate to it and make it personal and that way the audience would stay engaged and understand it better. The night came when I was to give the media talk. I was somewhat nervous, but I knew that I had prepared, and that I would have a translator which would give me opportunity to think about what I would say next while the translator was talking.
After a few songs, and a short prayer, I went up to the podium to give my overcoming talk. I started out with the generic “Welcome back to the third night of week of prayer” etc, and started talking about overcoming media addictions. I wanted to engage the audience so I asked questions here and there with a show of hands. But as I was talking I noticed that, while the whole congregation was smiling, only the Weimar students and English speaking staff were interacting and raising their hands. I didn’t think much about it and continued on with my talk. The whole talk went smoothly and the translator even covered up some mistakes that I made in English and I was feeling quite happy with how things were going. I got towards the end of the talk and threw in a story about my childhood and how I had a problem with media. I loved using my computer, and while I didn’t do bad things on it, I was wasting my time doing useless things when I could have been doing other things. I told how I couldn’t overcome my computer addiction by myself since the problem was bigger than me and that I needed someone bigger to fix the problem, I needed God. I looked up and scanned the room to see several people nodding their heads and heard a few murmured amens. Then I noticed a row of Belizean people smiling broadly and chuckling. I wondered about it but not for too long because I had to think about what to say next. The whole talk lasted about 45 minutes and I said a prayer to close and people began to file out of the small one room church.
The whole talk went well and I was praising God for the work that He had done through me as I walked out the door towards the waiting bus to go back to the MOVE campus. As I was walking, trying not to stop for too long to avoid the annoying red ants, the translator ran up and I told her how she had done a very good job as this was one of her first times translating up front. As we were talking, she proceeded to tell me about how she had to learn the word for “media” in Spanish. The translation in Spanish can mean two different things depending on whether it has an “o” or an “a” in the end. If it ends with an “o”, it means media, but if it ends with an “a”, it means pantyhose! We had a big laugh because I had asked for a show of hands for how many people struggled with a media addiction and the translation was about how many people struggled with a pantyhose addiction! No wonder only the Weimar students and staff had raised their hands and no-one else had! The whole thing taught me how important it is to learn to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. We all had a big laugh out of it and no doubt will remember “Tyler and the pantyhose addiction” for years to come!
On Valentine’s Day we held a Health Expo for the people of Santa Martha Village. We set up our booths outside on the church lawn. Although invitations were given several weeks ahead, some of our students went to the homes to invite people personally. The church members were very happy to have over 100 children come along with their parents, grandparents and other family members and friends. Some of the services provided were health age, blood pressure, talks on eating low sugar and low-fat foods, dental education, massage and free clothing. Here is the testimony of one student…
“Oh Lord, please send people.” This was our prayer as we sat in the wet heat of Santa Martha. The health expo was set up as we awaited out first participants. Even though I hoped many would come through, I had this doubt that there would only be a few, and these few would be the faithful church members. Not that that was bad at all…but…we wanted to be able to touch the city of Santa Martha. While these thoughts are running through my mind, a group of slightly elusive local children ran in and out of the cement building in front of us. Their cute smiles staring at us through windowless gaps in the wall, with the occasional word “gringo” reaching our sun-burnt ears. Little did we know that through these children would our blessing be received. Soon one or two children began to go through line, each station the group seemed to providentially increase. 10, 20, almost 25 children by the time they reached my booth. I was nervously reviewing my notes as I had never ran the trust/rest booth before, but the Lord blessed and the opportunities I had that evening will not soon be forgotten. As I gave massages to 20ish little boys, literally between 3-10 years old, I was blessed by their sincerity. Not only by their willingness to open up to me, but with eager folded hands I had the blessed opportunity of praying for and with them. In review, the children ended up bringing the parents and the health expo was a bustling center until it had to close.
As we anticipated, mission Belize is not only a mission to Belize but a training ground for our personal belief.
Today we continued working at the Santa Marta church. Some of our students set the goal to lay cinder blocks along one side of the building, and with much persistence and hard work they were able to achieve that goal. Words can not describe the feeling I felt as I witnessed students working together and with some workers from the area. Despite a language barrier, a common goal unified us all. It was truly a beautiful thing to see the power of God’s mission embodied before me in an unexpected way.
Today we were able to start on our projects at Holbrook Indian School. We plan on completing three different projects: finishing a shed, building a fence, and painting the girls’ dorm. Even though we have a lot of work to do, I believe that our most important task at this school is to share the love that Jesus has for each of us with those we meet. The students here are really friendly and seem to enjoy visits from mission trip groups. We are equally excited to be able to spend time with them between classes. These are going to be a great two weeks.
The drive from our first hotel has been one of the best road trips I’ve taken in a while. Not only do I get to spend time with my classmates, but the view is astounding. Although we are still traveling through California, I’ve noticed a dramatic change in scenery. We departed a rainy, pine-tree filled forest, to an arid desert. God has created a beautiful landscape with mesas and cacti for us to enjoy along the road. Even though we have an amazing view it’s still going to be a very long drive to Holbrook Indian school. We are all anxious and excited to get there.