By Daryl Ford
Belize Mission Trip, year 11 out of 14, that McDonald Road has sponsored a mission to Belize that involves youth and adults in projects that will take them out of their comfort zone. The idea was to let our youth see how third world countries manage on a minimal income and in conditions our kids have never experienced.
Each year is amazing and we see so many ways God leads. This year was no exception, in fact, it was probably one of the most amazing in how it all worked out. As mission trips throughout the conference, and the university, were put on hold our group headed for Belize. We were probably the last mission trip to leave prior to the coronavirus takeover. There were no regrets from any member of the trip. We all felt that we were where we were meant to be.
A week prior to our arrival in Belize we had the school find people to remove the roof from two of their classrooms which left them open to the elements. If we had not come the consequences could have been disastrous. As it was, we were able to replace the roof, put in insulation, and rewire the classrooms. The staff and children are ecstatic to have “new” classrooms that will not conduct the heat so dramatically and will cut the noise when it rains. The roof is still tin but what a difference the insulation makes! We were also able to replace another section of sidewalk, finish painting the last wall of classrooms that was not ready last year, and conduct a VBS. The number of children present at the school was down due to the coronavirus threat but those present thoroughly enjoyed the program. We were able to leave the remaining t-shirts and project supplies for the teachers who will make sure that the children not present will receive theirs. As our group was so efficient, we were also able to help with a building project at La Loma Luz Hospital. Once again, we had the “perfect” number to complete our projects.
When news reached us that Belize was shutting its borders down on Monday, March 23 we made the effort to try and leave sooner than our March 22 planned exit. We really didn’t want to fly on Sabbath but prayed that if it was God’s will for us to leave sooner than planned, He would make the way easy. As I started to work on details to arrange an earlier departure road block after road block presented itself. It was quickly made obvious that God had us right where He wanted us. We were to do the Sabbath Service at Central Church, our “home church,” even though gatherings had been limited the day before to 25 or less. They videoed the program as others wished to see it even though they couldn’t be in the main sanctuary. We went to the river that afternoon and relaxed knowing God had everything worked out for us. Our trip home on Sunday went without a hitch. We flew straight to Atlanta and went right through Customs and Immigration without any difficulty. We chose to exit in Atlanta and not hang out in the airport waiting for the flight to Chattanooga and inviting more exposure to our participants. We’re grateful for parents that rose to the occasion and came to pick us up in Atlanta! God’s timing is always perfect!
Belize has been life changing for many of us. Our Belizean friends consider us family and the same feeling is there for each participant on our mission trips. We invite you to open your hearts through service and/or support. We are hoping, God willing, to return to Belize spring break 2021. Come experience Belize Mission work with us!