Location: Punta Gorda, Belize
Cost of trip: $2000
Partner organization: LOL Ministries
Over winter break, I was blessed with the amazing opportunity to return to Punta Gorda, Belize for the third time, this time as a team leader along with Abby Caron. We were headed to LOL Home for Children, where we would spend the week working at the orphanage. The trip generally consisted of spending time with the children and working on various construction projects.
When I returned to Gordon last fall for my senior year, one of the questions in my mind was if I was going to return to Belize or not. I had been the past two years, and both of those trips had been life changing for me. I had no idea if the trip was even running this year, so when someone from a past trip asked me if I would be going this year, my answer was simply, “I don’t know, is there a team going?” Through that conversation, I found out that Abby Caron (someone who I went to Belize with the past two years) would be leading the trip. I knew after having that conversation that I had to go back, and that God was telling me that I wasn’t quite finished there yet. So I contacted Abby, asked her the dates and information, called my mother, and within the hour I had decided to go back to Belize. Less than a week later, Abby had reached out to me asking if I would co-lead the trip with her. After meeting with Sarah and praying about it a little more, I decided that I would co-lead the Belize mission trip! God really confirmed to me in those days that going back to Belize was something I needed to do. I had no plans to go back that year, but God opened the doors and had greater plans for me the whole time. While planning the trip was not always easy and there were definitely a lot of stressful moments, but Abby and I relied on prayer to get us through those tough times.
At the end of December, we finally began our trip to Belize. Words cannot describe the feeling I had once I got back there. It was so incredible to be back in a country that has held such a special place in my heart. Once we got to our house and got settled in, we learned that we would be spending the whole week with the kids, and we were so excited! We were with those kids every single day that week, and we were able to see them and interact with them in their own environment. From going on a “walk” through the jungle, or using a makeshift waterslide, being able to see the joy on the kids’ faces made it all worth it.
Something that LOL does every night before dinner, is they get into a huge circle and share praise reports for the day before they pray over their meal. This has become one of my favorite parts of being there. Something I noticed this year, was how the kids praised God for everything, big or small. And that really hit me. I feel like often times we thank God when he answers our prayers or when something big has happened, but we sometimes forget to thank Him for the small things. So hearing the kids say that they were thankful that they got to watch a movie, or play on the water slide, was so humbling. It was just another reminder of the child-like faith that we are supposed to have.
Something else that was so apparent during this trip, was that God can take any situation and turn it into something good. Throughout the week our team would talk about how we are sometimes put into situations that we don’t want to be in or situations we don’t feel qualified for. One morning we were doing devos with Jervis (the founder of LOL) and the staff members, and Jervis said something that stuck out to all of us: “If it seems impossible, you’re doing something right.” This resonated with every team member. Sometimes in life, we are faced with situations that seem impossible. But we need to remember that with God, nothing is impossible. If we hold on to Him, and trust Him with every step, He can make the impossible possible.
Belize holds such a special place in my heart, and I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to serve there. I will always remember the amazing experiences I’ve had, and everything that God has taught me through serving at LOL. I pray that one day I will be able to return to Belize, and I am so excited to see all the work He is doing there.