Isaiah 52:7

 

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!

 

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Pictures | Belize Missions 2017

Pictures are ready! Each gallery’s link is listed below. However, a password is required for each gallery. Email tgordonva@gmail.com for the password, but do not share it on social media as it can be a safety issue for the kids. (Note: Photos are unedited and have not been picked through — You get the good and the bad!)

Enjoy!

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http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-1-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-2-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-3-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-4-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-5-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-6-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-7-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-8-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-9-2017

http://taylorlynnphotography.pass.us/day-10-2017

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Travel Update (Final)

We’re home! Thank you all so much for reading our daily updates! Your support and prayers are what got us to Belize. 

Pictures are coming soon!

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Travel Update (3)

Still boarding. Should be taking off soon.

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Travel Update (2)

After a few gate changes, we are about to board our flight to RIC!

See you soon!

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Travel Update (1)

We made it to Atlanta! We have a long layover and are stuffing our faces with burgers and fries!

Our flight is scheduled to leave on time!

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Day 9 (7/22) : A Day at South Water Caye

What a day! Today was our day of rest and relaxation after a week full of ministry here in Pomona. We woke up extra early this morning for a 7am breakfast. We had fry jacks, eggs, beans, bananas, juice, and sweet tea. After breakfast, we sprayed our sunscreen and loaded up the bus to head to Dangriga! We met Mr. Logan there for him to take us on his boat to South Water Caye. From Dangriga, the boat ride is just under an hour. This time, on the way to the Caye, we got a little tour! We stopped in the middle of the water between two islands to see some resorts where some of our friends in Macaroni Village work! Soon after, we stopped at Bird Island. This is an island near Tobacco Caye that is home to brown footed boobies and frigatebirds. There were SO many of them—way too many to count! After our two field trip stops, we continued to South Water Caye. We docked and got directions from Alton before getting in the water. The staff always has cookies and juice out for us to eat when we get there—so yummy! We all threw our bags down pretty quickly to go get in the water! It’s so relaxing to be in the water and floating around. If you’ve never seen pictures of South Water Caye, google it now. It looks like something out of a magazine and is such a treat to go each year! We had the morning to do whatever we wanted—paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, laying in a hammock, etc. Sydney, Madison, Taylor B. and I went kayaking and paddle boarding! We had so much fun and saw so many cool fish! Afterwards, we went back to the beach to swim before lunch. Lunch at the Caye is always delicious. Today, we had fish sticks, homemade tartar sauce, squash, cho cho, garlic bread, powder buns, juice, and water. We had the choice to order a soda or a frozen drink. After lunch we gathered our snorkeling gear and boated out to the reef! We jumped off of the boat and swam around the reef looking at the different fish and coral. It was AMAZING! Laura swam around saying that she was in her element and I’m pretty sure she’s a mermaid. We even saw some black and yellow striped fish that looked like yellow jackets! We had so much fun, but several of us weren’t feeling too hot by the time we left. We went back the the island to relax for a few more hours before having to leave. I, personally, took a nap in a hammock and it was fantastic. Before leaving, we spent some time taking photos together and wandered around for artsy pictures too. Around 3:30pm, we loaded the boat to head back to Dangriga. We were all so tired that everyone was pretty silent on the way back. We docked, got into the bus, and continued toward the Macaroni. We stopped at the Shell station to get some gas in the bus before leaving in the morning.

When we arrived back at the Macaroni, we got out of our bathing suits and headed out to the village to see the kids before leaving. We got caught in a rainstorm and were invited into our friend Ruby’s house. We spent a long while talking and playing around. One of Ruby’s sons is a police officer in Belize and let us play with his handcuffs. We walked outside and Darvin asked me, “Are you going to cry like you normally do? I cry too when you leave.” Darvin has been one of my buddies since year one. He was 3 when we met him and he has grown into such a sweet young man. I’ve loved watching him grow up. It is so evident that these kids don’t see us as the people that come once a year and are 1500 miles away. We’re the closest of friends and mileage has nothing on that. Shortly after, Tarisha asked Skylar and I if we would come to her birthday party in April. These kids have hearts of gold and I’m so thankful to know each of them and to have watched them grow up.

Soon enough, it was time for dinner. We had baked chicken, seasoned potatoes, garden salad, carrot cake, juice, and sweet tea. We transitioned into devotions led by Rodney and Angie about the Lost Sheep. Once they were done, we each shared a God moment from the week. It’s so clear to see the hand of God in so many different areas of the week.

We ended our evening with “See You Soon”. Saying these three words is so hard, but makes our reunion each year so special. Sydney and I had showered and were looking outside our window to see a group of kids smiling from ear to ear. Their joy is contagious and their love is unconditional. I held up “I love you” in sign language to see it returned back from one of my sweetest friends, Tarisha.

We’ve had a great week of ministry here in Belize, and tomorrow will be a bittersweet goodbye. Until next year…

P.s. I will try my best to give travel updates when I can tomorrow. Thank you for your continued prayers!

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Day 8 (7/21) : A Jesus-Filled Day

Hello, friends! Day eight’s blog post is here! Today was a busy, fun, cold (unusual, I know!), and Jesus-filled day here in Belize! We woke up bright and early to begin our day with breakfast. We had johnny cakes, hard boiled eggs, beans, onions, juice, and sweet tea. After breakfast, we discussed the plan for the day. We had to get the preschool at St. Matthew’s done, so we had a group of people up there. Laura, Momma (Amy), and I painted the windows and did touch-ups around the building. Rodney and Bernie took control of construction and Madison and Skylar painted inside the school. The other team members went shopping at the Crossing and at Marie Sharp’s and some were dropped off at medical to work at the clinic. Soon enough, lunch rolled around and we met at the Macaroni for some delicious chicken quesadillas, chips, salsa, juice, and sweet tea. After lunch, a group went back to the school for construction and the group that was there this morning went shopping. After shopping we came back to the Macaroni to work on our homework. We were tasked with writing something encouraging on a notecard for each team member.

Once we finished our homework, Roma, Sydney, Momma and I had a little party. We ate nuts and did word search puzzles. We had so much fun and were laughing our heads off! Roma is a hoot and I’ve loved having her along on this trip!

We went out to the village for a little while and then decided to share our surprise that we had planned for the kids. We had 240 water balloons that we were going to throw at the kids during a parade. We loaded up in the truck with our balloons on board. Team members followed behind with a sign that read “God is Enough”, blowing bubbles, and handing out goodie bags to the kids. The kids loved it and the moms pulled out their phones to take videos and pictures! Some kids tried to jump into the truck to get revenge, but we didn’t let that happen. Haha!

Once the parade ended, we went up to dinner and ate white rice, fried chicken, macaroni salad, beans, caramel cake, lemonade, and sweet tea. We’ve loved putting the honey on our chicken this week! So yummy!

After dinner, we came downstairs for worship and devotions. Courtney and Roma led a devotion about the Good Samaritan. We also read our index card notes privately and joined together for prayer.

Our exciting news of the day is that the preschool is complete and ready for students this fall! We’re so excited for the kids that will learn in this building and pray that Jesus will be glorified in it.

Now, everyone is preparing for bed and winding down before our last full day in Belize tomorrow.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers!

 

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Day 7 (7/20) : Stand Together

Hello, friends! Welcome back for Day seven’s blog post! I’m so excited to share about our adventures from the day! Our day began bright and early (and humid) with breakfast on the rooftop! Some started their day even earlier with painting and construction at 5:30 am. When breakfast time rolled around, we had pancakes, bacon, beans, eggs, juice, and sweet tea. After breakfast, we gathered in the lounge to prepare for camp and load the truck. We had to take two trips today in order to get everyone to camp because another team had to borrow our bus. When we got to camp, we set up and invited the kids in for the final day! We had 135 kids (plus or minus a few) at camp today! They have soaked in so much Jesus this week and we’re so excited to see how these kids put what they learned to action. Today we talked about the story of the Lost Sheep. The kids got to finger-paint a sheep today to take home. They also got to help the shepherd (Rodney) look for the lost sheep during games. We hid it in a backpack on Skylar’s back for most groups, but we changed it up and put toilet paper in there for the last group. Before closing, the different crews had to clean up the campus of the school because they had thrown trash everywhere throughout the week. At the beginning of closing, we watched a slideshow of pictures that I put together for the last day. After the kids left on the bus to go home, we loaded up the truck with ourselves and our supplies to head back for lunch. Today we had a burrito bar, juice, and sweet tea. After lunch, a group of people went back to the school to work on construction while some of us stayed back to set up a boutique! We put out four bins of clothes and invited the people in the village to pick out four things per person. The kids were so cute picking out their new clothes and trying them on! Dot and I worked check out and others were personal shopping assistants. When the boutique closed, a few of us came downstairs to organize the leftover supplies and determine what would be done with them. We took a walk through the village before dinner to give water bottles out to each house along with goodie bags for the women in the village. We had a lot of fun hanging out with the kids and goofing off a little before dinner. For dinner we had fried chicken legs and tenders, rice and beans, cole slaw, pineapple juice, and sweet tea. After dinner, we gathered downstairs for devotions and worship. Bernie, Rodney, and Alex led devotions tonight and gave the team an opportunity to take part in communion. We spent a good amount of time sharing God moments tonight about our week of camp. We’re nearing the end of our time here and we can’t believe it!

We ask for your continued prayers and support as we have some team members that are exhausted and not feeling so hot. Tomorrow, we have a lot to get done on the construction end of things so we’ll be out in the heat a lot more than other days this week.

Thank you for your love and support!

P.s. It’s currently pouring down rain here!

P.s.s. After several nights of no air conditioning, my roommates and I are in a room that feels heavenly!

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Day 6 (7/19) : God At Work

Hello friends! Welcome back for day six! We’re loving every second of our time here in Belize and can’t believe we’re already planning for our last few days here! Day 3 of camp was a success! We had our favorite Belizean breakfast of fry jacks, eggs, sausage, beans, juice, and sweet tea. After breakfast, we had a little bit of time to fill water bottles, pack for camp, and go potty. We left at 9:30 for camp to arrive in time to set up. The Belizean helpers have been such a great addition to our team! We’ve loved having them join us! Today at camp, we shared the story of Elijah. The kids put together a bag of rice and beans for their families today. This gave them a meal for their family and the looks on their faces were priceless. They wouldn’t let that bag out of their sight for anything. During camp, we had a 7 minute rain shower that provided a nice 7 minute breeze. Afterwards, the humidity set in again. The kids are loving camp and they seem so excited to be there and learning. We wrapped up camp right at noon and ran for the bus. Today, we felt energized after camp rather than exhausted. All of us have seen God at work in the details of camp days. We came back to the Macaroni for lunch. We had meat pies, cinnamon rolls, and lemonade. The meat pies had quite a kick to them, but everyone was so hungry that we gobbled them down quickly. After lunch, we had some time to rest before PHD and a women’s gathering in the village. The construction crew headed out pretty soon after lunch and PHD and the women’s gathering started at 2pm. At PHD, we talked about whether God is enough because of His sovereignty. The girls had some time to journal and discuss the question with their table. We had some soaps for them to pick out and take home as well as a water bottle that says “Our Choices Count”. They were so excited about the water bottles that they filled them up as soon as they got to the bottom of the steps. The women on our team went to a house in the village to fellowship and eat wafers and juice. Angie prepared a devotion for their time together that everyone really enjoyed. A woman who my family met at VCU with her baby came to visit us today. About a year ago, this mom and one of her babies flew to VCU with the World Pediatric Project due to health issues at birth. Today, we got to see her and her two twin boys after several months! It was so sweet to spend time with them! Some of our team went to the school to paint and ended up helping a boy who cut his foot open on glass. Other members of our team stayed back to spend time with the children. Soon enough it was time for dinner. We had chicken tenders, pizza, garden salad, coconut tarts, juice, and sweet tea. It was wonderful! We also had a late happy hour after dinner with milkshakes. Team members could choose from Banana, Chocolate, and Strawberry. Shelika came and made them for us and they were so yummy! After happy hour, we had worship and devotions. Sydney led devotions tonight and we were led in worship by Bernie. Beth and Pam joined in via Facebook Messenger video chat and it was so special! Afterwards, most headed for bed while others stayed up to socialize.

 

We’re so excited for day four of camp and can’t believe the end is near. Thank you so much for your love and support!

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Day 5 (7/18) : Living For Him

Hello friends! Welcome back for day five’s blog post! Day two of camp was a success! We woke up early for breakfast and had tortillas, ham, eggs, beans, papaya, juice, and sweet tea. After breakfast, LeAnna and Chandler led a devo about The Lost Sheep. After devotions, we talked about what our day would look like and said a prayer before going downstairs. We spent some time preparing for camp and double checking that we had supplies packed for every station. We left for camp at 9:28 and began to set up as soon as we got there. Today’s story was about the Good Samaritan. The kids are really beginning to grasp onto everything they’re learning. Our Bible verse was Romans 12:13, “Share with people who are in need.” Today they made first aid kits to help someone who is in need. The kids were so excited about these and didn’t let them out of their sight during other stations. During games, they had a relay race where they had to bandage up a hurt person to win. The kids are loving every second of camp and are having a blast connecting with our team! Camp ran very smoothly today and we finished ON TIME! Which, if you’ve been to Belize, is a HUGE deal! After camp, we went to the Macaroni to have lunch. We had Belizean garnaches, powder buns, and juice. It was delicious! We had to eat quickly because PHD was scheduled to begin at 2. Girls arrived super early so we were scurrying to set up everything. Today we asked the question, “Is God enough because of His loving-kindness?” The girls had time to journal about the verse, Psalm 86:15 and to dig into what was written. After journaling, we had some time planned for the girls to paint canvases. We knew how much fun they had doing it last year, so we were excited to have painting supplies again. There were 26 girls at PHD today, so we had a full room! We ended PHD with a candy prayer where the girls picked a piece of candy out of a bag and it determined the topic of their prayer. We closed in prayer and the girls were dismissed. Madison and Courtney spent some time painting with the younger girls that weren’t able to come up for PHD yet. After PHD, some of us packed school supply bags and took a trip to the store while others were at construction. Bernie, Rodney, and Alex have been so diligent about waking up before the sun to do construction. They worked until dinner at 6pm today! We had a team favorite of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner! It was delicious! We also had garlic knots and chocolate cake. And, of course, juice and sweet tea. After dinner, we ended our fifth day with worship and devos. Grace and Skylar shared about Elijah and about God pulling us out of our comfort zones. We shared God moments and talked about the plan for tomorrow and ended the day. We spent some time fellowshipping in different groups and settling down into rooms. Just as we decided to go to bed, our room got a knock on the door from LeAnna needing a cockroach killed. I’m used to seeing them after living with them in my building at school, so I went in and killed it with LeAnna’s chacos. Never a dull moment in Belize… We’re having such a great time and are so excited about day 3 of camp!

 

Thank you all for your support and prayers!!

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