Today was a busy day. We woke up at 6am and got ready and had our devotions. At 7am, we were at the cafeteria for breakfast. They served us tofu and hash brown breakfast burritos with fruit and cereal. All the kids in the school came and ate together and then went to their classes. After they left, our group went to the guys dorm’s chapel for an introduction to Holbrook. We watched their promo video and then a lady told us a little more about the school. After that, the staff told us our work groups and then we went outside to wait for our work assignments. Group A and D were one group that went to a garage to scrape off paint to prep for painting while group B and C went to prep and painted a brick building and then cleared out an alley way. After the first half of the day, we had lunch and then went and played with the kids outside until 1:30pm. Then we went back to work. A few of us in group A and D went with Mr. Polk to insulate a small building called the “dog house”. That took us a while and by the time we were done insulating, it was time for supper. After we ate, we went back to the dorm and hung out until worship. Then it was time for bed. It was a hard day for us, but it was fun. Most of us got wind burned, but it was all worth it!!
-Mackenzie Jezierski – Junior
What a day!!! So we woke up this morning at 7am and then got all packed up to head out to Holbrook. At 8am, the Leal family once again had a wonderful, delicious breakfast waiting for us in the dinning hall. They had prepared pancakes, scrambled tofu, hash browns, oatmeal, and fruit! It was all AMAZING!!! Mr. Rudy and Mr. Polk went out to fill up the vehicles for the trip, so we just waited around for them to get back. Finally, they came back with new wipers for the bus and a wrench to fix the hitch on the suburban. We all piled on the bus and waited for them to get everything ready for the trip. Another 30 minutes went by and finally we were off. Only 50 minutes behind schedule. We drove for about 5 hours and around 1pm, we decided to place our order at Taco Bell for lunch. We still had an hour to go still, but we planned to be able to go into the Taco Bell and get our food and then be able to leave and get back on the road. We decided that for lunch, we should stop at a park that was just off the Colorado River. It was a nice day, so we could eat outside. Mr. Polk, Miss Jam, and Dustin were in the Suburban and went to go get the Taco Bell while the rest of us went to wait for them at the park. It was fun! There was a playground and a small beach that was right off the canal that was connected to the Colorado River. We waited and waited and still, no food had arrived. By this time, it was 3 o’clock. We were hungry since we hadn’t eaten since 8 this morning. We called them and found out that the Taco Bell didn’t believe us that we wanted all 75 burritos, so they weren’t ready for us and were taking forever!! So Miss Alyssa decided treat all of us that were waiting with shaved ice. It was really good!! After we got the shaven ice, we went back to the park to wait for the food. Then we heard that Mr. Polk had gotten turned around and couldn’t find us. We all gathered to pray that God would help them find us. Finally, at 5:15pm, the food arrived. YAY!! One problem was that they messed up part of our order. UGH! But God blessed us with food and everyone got something to eat and was filled. We were on the road again for 5 more hours and finally at 10:45pm, we arrived at Holbrook Indian Seventh-Day Adventist School. Praise God He protected us all the way down to Arizona. Tomorrow is the start of a great day!!
Well, we’re off!! We left Weimar Academy at 2:35 ish. It was a little later than usual and that has been the trend of the trip so far. The bus went on ahead while the Suburban and trailer had to stay back for a little bit to pack up a few more things. It was a bit rainy as we left, but God gave us a beautiful full rainbow which reminded us of His promises. About half way through the drive, we stopped at a rest stop and met the Neri Family who was also on their way and happened to be stoping at the same time. Then we were on our way again. We drove for about three more hours and finally made it to the Hillcrest Seventh Day Adventist church. It was about 7:30pm at this time. When we walk into the dinning hall, the Leal family had supper all ready for us. It was soup, sandwiches, salad, and fruit. We were famished!! They were so generous. After we ate, a few of us helped clean up while the rest of us went to go unpack the bus. We then separated into the rooms of where we were going to sleep. One problem was that the Suburban hadn’t arrived at the church yet. They were about an hour and a half out still. After waiting a very long time for them to arrive, they finally came, at 9:30pm. We got the things out of the trailer and we needed to get, and then we got into our sleeping bags and went to bed. It was a long day of driving, but tomorrow will even be longer yet!! God kept us safe and sound. More adventures are still to come.
After 1 bus ride, 4 plane rides, and 1 crammed back-of-the-truck ride, our team finally arrived at
Familia Feliz, Rurrenabaque. Familia Feliz is a Seventh-day Adventist orphanage and school for the local
children in Bolivia. We spent that first day settling in and exploring the campus. We were also able to catch
up on some much needed sleep before dinner. In addition, we got to swim in and attempt to bathe in the
muddy creek. Above all, we reflected on how far God had brought us on this trip and his power to overcome
all our obstacles.
Day 2, we woke up bright and early at 5:30 am for our first day of work. On campus, some of us started
a construction project, while others watched children as teacher’s aids. Our medical and dental team took
off for town and they held a free clinic for the local people. Wherever we were stationed, we saw the hand of
God at work. We learned that despite the heat, bugs, plugged toilets, and broken plans, we can rely on God
to take care of our every need.
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!
Jenna Fanselau – Weimar Academy Freshman
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.