God truly blessed our travel yesterday. We had a very smooth flight and all of the kids did great. Though we thought Shirley may end up in a Belize jail before we got through customs, all ended well. We were excited to see David and loaded up the two vans that he had rented from the Belize Baptist Association. We drove through what he called not the prettiest parts of Belize for about an hour. We stopped for lunch at Cheers, which did have the same logo as the Cheers you think of, “Where everybody knows your name.”
After that we drove for another hour and a half through absolutely beautiful country. We were surrounded by mountains and jungle, and a whole lot of poverty. David said that only 10% of teams made it as far as we did, which I asked him to clarify that their intent was not to go further, not that they just didn’t make it. 🙂
After much driving, we arrived at the Pelican Resort which is right on the coast. It is beautiful. We had a delicious dinner and then worshipped with Pumona Church, which is one of the churches where David and Karen have begun children’s ministry.
I wish I had time to share all that I’ve already learned and seen. The bottom line is that this is a country made up of over 50% children. By the time many girls are in early 20’s they may have 5-6 kids. Poverty and malnutrition are rampant. David and Karen’s vision is that, of course, God is the only hope for this country and that the dire circumstances can only be truly changed by Him moving in the youngest generations. Therefore they are working to establish effective children’s ministries in churches and schools throughout the country. Amazingly enough, the constitution of Belize mandates religious education for all children, but even the church schools were not providing it.
Westwood began a partnership with Light of the Valley school a year ago. Our Studio and Awana offerings go to provide pencils, paper, curriculum, etc…. David said before that partnership, Light of the Valley had very little.
What has resounded with me the most is that their goal is building relationships. As we are here we will certainly share the gospel as the opportunity arises, but our goal is not to get people to pray prayers and then we disappear. The idea is to establish a long term partnership with Light of the Valley in which our kids connect with the kids of Belize. They pray for us. We pray for them. We support them however we can. We build relationships with the goal of the gospel impacting this generation in a way that an entire country will be changed. I think I’m coming to understand more and more the power of partnership and relationship in Westwood truly making an impact on the world.
Those are my rambling thoughts for now. The kids are doing great. If you are a Westwood parent reading this, start saving now to take this trip next year.
Can’t wait to see what God will do.