Monday, July 8, 2013

The Reentry

Reentry is defined as a second or new entry.  This will be my third Reentry from Belize and easier is not used when I define what lays ahead of me. I will try to put into words what the first time team members might be feeling and what I feel today.  I am all heart in making descions but the word tells us,The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV). So my first advice is to  take a deep breath and allow your heart time to feel and let your head time to process.
I am a mommy and a wife. Two jobs that require much of my heart and dedication. It was not normal to turn those jobs off for a week.  In fact I have never experienced a mission trip without my husband or children. I was able to spend time alone with God and was able to listen on ways I could return home a better wife and a better mommy.  I pray all of our team will come home and find things where they could serve The Lord better than they did before. So my second advice is to write it down.   Write down the answered prayers. Write down the areas you need to make changes in your life. Write down where you need to serve more and worry less. Write it down.
Jesus example to us and His command, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19 ESV) are words that don't go away upon Reentry. I was so encouraged by the youth we took on our trip. Boldness was a word I could use to describe each one of them. I watched them take time to pray with each waiter, bus driver, team member or child. Without hesitation they shared the gospel. My third piece of advice is to keep it up. Your pictures.  Your experience.  Your story is His story. Don't keep it to your self. I recently read an article that stated only 11% of churchgoers would ever go on a mission trip. Your experience is worth telling to all that will listen.
My heart is speaking louder than my head in the first few days at home. My heart remembers the hugs, the conversations, the homes we walked in, the hands I held, the kisses I stole, the tickles I gave, the words they spoke, the songs we sang and the tears we cried.  Piper says it best, "The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness.” 

 My last advice is to forget your self again. If I close my eyes I can hear the crunch of the gravel wet road under my shoes and I can feel the humid air and I remember not myself but the love that was worth it. My last advice is to remember. Remember it was worth it. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Little Things

Yesterday was a great day.  It was our day to share the gospel with both groups.  At both the boys' and the girls' camps, you could have heard a pin drop (something that has been rare all week).  At both places, we used a wooden cross with nails on it to have a visual for the kids to see.  Marsha (to the girls) and Kenneth (to the boys) explained that Jesus took those sins and carried them on the cross.  During different times at both locations, the kids took handprints they had made earlier in the week and placed them on the nails.  Talk about a gut wrenching time.  At the girls' camp, one of the sweet little ones told her leaders that she just could not put her hand on the cross.  Marsha told her that Jesus had already taken her sin to the cross, and that she could rest in that.  She finally did, and then sat back down to cry in her seat.  Wow, what a sign that there is power in the gospel!
The hands on the cross at the boys' camp 

After we finished the camps, we took off for Steadfast, which is the village where many of our kids who attend Light of the Valley live.  We had a small amount of food to take to them.  Please pray.  There is a shipment of food waiting in customs here that has not been released.  These sweet babies are hungry.  We have heard from them day after day about how hungry they are.  Some through their words, but many through their actions.  We need God to do amazing things to allow Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus to be able to provide the food these families are so desperately needing. Fast.

One praise we have had all week, and it seems like a little thing in the big picture.  This is the rainy season in Belize.  It pretty much rains every day here during this time.  We have had about 100 boys and 100 girls to keep entertained and moving without a large amount of indoor space if it rains.  Praise the Lord, the rain has held off the last 2 days until the camp is cleared out!  He has done great things for us in this.  We pray that favor continues today.

The sunrise this morning
Our team will have to say goodbye to the kids at camp today.  This is always an emotional day because of the relationships that have been built through the week.  Our hope is that we have given them Jesus, the One who will love them, care for them, and be there with them always, much better than we can.  Still it will be hard to leave those sweet faces behind.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

But God

Queen Shirley sends her love.

Kingdom Rock started on Monday.  We had a great start and then the forecast for Tuesday was heavy rain.  We were wondering if our numbers would decrease to the point of no children.  In Belize rain and storms is frightening to not only children but parents.  Floods had hit areas of southern Belize the week before and most of the children we are working with will tell you of the water coming into their homes.  We spent Sunday at Pomona talking to the kids about Noah and the flood. His words are true.  He is our shelter from the storm.
Isaiah 25:4 You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;

And then my favorite words of scripture, But God!
But God sent the rain in the night.  The storm passed and the buses filled and the children came.  The boys camp had about a 25 % increase and the girls camp had about a 50% increase.  Praise God!

Just wanted to also let you know that the youth we brought on this trip have shined bright.  Their boldness and witness is admiring.  They have challenged me this week.  At night we share our God moment for the day.  To hear their hearts and see their love for missions and the Lord is something I wish I could record to show their parents.

Pray today as we share the gospel.  The children and adults will be placing their cut out hands on a nail on a cross.  Pray as the Gospel demonstrates it's power.

In Him,

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Glory Revealed

Wow.  All I can say about today is that God was definitely making himself known.  We started the morning off with a prayer and devotion time, praying for our day here, as well as our Westwood family and Pastor Matt as he was preaching his first Sunday today.

We loaded up the bus and headed to Pomona church to lead their children's church service.  We were all eager to go and worship with such a sweet group of kids, get to lead them through small group time, and share the gospel as opportunities presented themselves.  This was such a sweet time for us all, and I hope that the kids enjoyed it as much as we did.  One thing that my son had told me before we came to Belize was that he was looking forward to making new friends down here.  My heart melted when he said that he had the best day ever, playing and getting to know new friends.  He has 4 new friends according to his count.  I am sure that many more are to come.
The bus ride
This week, we will be leading VBS Kingdom Rock Belizian style.  We will have girls at one place and boys at another.  Logistically, it could be a nightmare, but we know that God is in control.  He has handpicked the boys and girls who will be coming and He has a plan for us.  Tomorrow they will be learning that God's love helps them stand strong.  We pray that we can be a living example of God's love, and that the kids will have open eyes, ears, and hearts to see, hear, and feel that.

In order to prepare for the week ahead, we prayer walked at Holy Angels and ITVet today.  God poured Himself over those places and is covering each and every square inch of those properties.  God has already shown us favor in so many ways, and I don't expect Him to stop now.
Holy Angels
Our group praying at ITVet

Tonight we joined together outside at the restaurant/hotel where we are staying.  We had church right at our tables.  Once again, God was all over the place.  There are very few people who come to eat at the restaurant at any given time, but tonight as we were getting started with our worship and sharing time, a party of about 15 people came to eat.  They were from the States, and hopefully they have gotten a glimpse of God's glory.  Praying for more seeds to plant in them.

As we go about our week, pray for opportunities to share the gospel and make Jesus the hero of our lives.  God uses us to reach the next generation for the Gospel.

Psalm 78:5-7

English Standard Version (ESV)
He established a testimony in Jacob
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
    to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
    so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;


Good Morning

Good Morning from Belize! The team and luggage all arrived here safely yesterday after about an 11 hour journey. Big thanks to Larry and Tom for driving us to Atlanta. God made provisions all along the way yesterday. The gentlemen that checked all 24 of us in at the airport did not charge us for any of the tubs of supplies. Customs in Belize was very kind to us also.  So thankful that the supplies all made it and now can be used for His purpose.
Today we will go to a church in Pamona.  Pray as Kenneth leads the  children's church. We will also have time to break into small groups. The message today is on Noah and the flood. Pray for ears to be opened.
This afternoon our team will be training Belizians and other churches for the week.  We will be giving a crash course in all things VBS.  We will also have an opportunity to prayer walk the schools where hundreds of children will come this week and hear the gospel and have fun. We can not wait to get  started! Pray for the team to be clear communicators of the Word and for us to get out of the way while the Holy Spirit guides.
We are praying for our church this morning as Pastor Matt starts his journey at Westwood. Welcome to Westwood Pastor Matt all the way from Belize!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kings and Queens

We are less than 48 hours from leaving for Belize. Our team had a packing party tonight and it was awesome to watch as a room full of supplies quickly filled the bags with room to spare. Praise God for the provisions He has made and is making before we even hit the ground. This blog will be a place where we hopefully can update with not only the status of our team but share the stories God will dictate in Belize. Please pray as we head out at 3 am Saturday morning. If you have not signed up for a prayer time for our time, please do so now.

Prayer Wall

We could not go without the prayers of His people. Pray as we meet hundreds of His children this week during Queens and Kings camp.  Pray for boldness for our team as we share the gospel and love out-loud!

In Him,

Sunday, March 24, 2013


We had great intentions about blogging and sharing our stories on this trip. However, sometimes I am learning words do not do justice to describe our God. People laugh when I say I have no words. I always have words but even our entire team felt the silent respect we had for the spirit filled moments. We also were reminded that so many of these stories are not ours to tell. The children and teachers and pastors and missionaries have their own stories. Out of respect to them we will only share part of ours.
Personally Wednesday is a day that our team will never forget. During our VBS time with the older kids we focused on the gospel presentation. Two teachers from LOV spoke with the students about baptism. This community had not seen an actual baptism in years. Years. Tyler and Marlee from our team wanted to be baptized in Belize. In fact Tyler's reason for a Belize baptism was to "show others the true meaning of baptism and maybe others would follow." There were also some other children at the school who were wanting to be baptized that day. 4 baptisms were planned. One of the teachers told me he felt the soft wind of God moving in that school. As the gospel began to be shared the very loud chapel became still.
Then at around noon, in the heat of the day, we began a quiet walk across the street, down a hill and through the thick jungle to a river in the Valley. One of the teachers brought his guitar. One of the teachers who is also a preacher stood in the river. The bank was full of children. The soft wind of God begin to move. The baptisms of the scheduled children began. Sir Nick began to play, Jesus loves the little children and I have decided to follow Jesus. There were 21 total baptisms in the river that day. 2 teachers from the school also stepped into the water that day. My own husband baptized our two children and another student from his group this week. Todd began by reading scripture: Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. (1 Timothy 4:12, 13, 15 ESV)Sophia from our team was also baptized by her daddy, Jeff that day.
I turned around to soak in the moment and it literally took my breathe away. The living water flowed in the river that day. I watched healing. I watched obedience. I watched faith on display. I watched village and kingdom changers go under the water. I watched individuals become family. I watched Karen and David rejoice in a harvest they have plowed and planted for 5 years. I watched those who relate to the suffering of Christ receive the love of Christ. It was wordless.