Monday, August 21, 2017

Day 4, 5 & 6 - Belize Harvest Aviation Mission Team

Day 4 - August 19, 2017 (Saturday)
As I ended with the blog yesterday, this was by far the best morning because of where we were waking up. We were able to enjoy the beauty all around us, hike up Prayer Mountain, and take in all that God had prepared for us.
We had breakfast with Ms Lee and the Jones' while also meeting a new Missionary to Belmopan, Alicia, who works with Camalote Camp. She had heard about Harvest Aviation and has referred others to use Harvest when packages were needed. It was so exciting to randomly meet people that have been blessed by Harvest from previous cargo deliveries.
It was time to leave and head off for another adventurous day in Belize!!! So off to Spanish Lookout we went. As we arrived to our "destination" it became quite obvious that where Anna had taken us was in fact not the next missionaries house. But because we had no minutes, we could not call him. So off to the store we went to buy more minutes. Only to find out that we still couldn't figure out how to dial a US # in Belize. So we decided we would drive to the area that he lived, and see if we could find him.
Spanish Lookout is where the Mennonites have settled and so this area of the country is developed with a Mennonite twist. It's not uncommon to see them riding in horse & buggy, while others have decided to go ahead and purchase a vehicle. So you have a little bit of both.
On the way to Iguana Creek Subdivision, we actually saw an Iguana. That is how we knew we were headed in the right direction! We pulled in to the gate where the first ministry building was, but no one was home. So we decided to drive to see if anyone would come out of their homes so we could ask them if they knew, Dave.
And we kept driving, and driving. There were dogs, there were cars, but no people. Until we reached one house and we saw a man looking out the window. So we waved in hopes he would come out. And he did! William was his name, his home was unique (similar to the other style of most of the homes in this subdivision) and his tiny trailer he had built was even more unique. He invited us in to see it and shared with us about the different ways he kept tarantulas out of the upstairs, and termites out of the wood (by treating it with kerosene), and showed us all his plants that he used for day-to-day living.
And guess what, William knew where Dave lived... just across the road. He also told us how to dial a US # with our local phone. Score!!! (God is so good with directions isn't he?!?!)
We called Dave and guess where he was waiting for us, within a few hundred yards of where we had first stopped when we made it in to Spanish Lookout. Coincidence?!? I think not!
We ate at Sister's Diner where the food was delicious and the burgers were BIG! Dave's church from the states is in the process of finishing up a home in Spanish Lookout for different people from their church to come and stay in as they transition down south to work with a group of Indians.
We had about 2 hours to spare so we decided to check out one of the Mayan Ruins. We headed into Santa Elena. And just past the roundabout, and up the mountain, we were "there" (according to Anna's maps) except we were staring at a dead end road with jungle in front of us, and no Myan Ruins. But luckily the car we passed as we headed up the mountain oh so quickly to see the Ruins, had now caught up with us and was smiling VERY big at us. So why not ask them where to go?! And who better to do this than Brian, our outgoing Pilot that says, "Hola" to everyone (including the most white pale person on the earth - because who doesn't speak Spanish, right?!)
Speaking of language, the primary language spoken is English, as Belize used to be a British colony. But Spanish, Creole (the Caribbean style not the French Haitian style), German and some tribal languages are also spoken amongst the different people groups.
Back to our new friends at the side of the mountain. Brian got some fantastic directions and down the mountain we went to head back up another road and... we made it! We acted like tourists and took lots of pictures. Unfortunately our newest Photographer didn't pass his test, and at this point in the trip, Mike will have to just stay as our Pilot. (We plan to continue to work with him in hopes he can one day soon be able to check this off as one of his skills set for future trips.)
And now it was time to rush off to the Duncan's. Again, with no directions and no #, and now Anna's phone was dead too. We called Marc at Hopewell to get the directions and we made it just in time. Belizian time is a little different than American time. In American you set a time to meet, and you typically arrive within 5-10 minutes of that set time. In Belize, ehhh, give or take an hour or so.
We got a tour of Jim & Jenny Duncan's place. It is here that they've taught school for many years. They've lived in Belize the longest (compared to any of the American Missionaries we've met.) They are also knowledgeable of the cultural & political differences in the country. They kind of do it all, teach school, run a radio station (that reaches the German mennonites), have church, employee teachers, make hot sauce... you name it, they've done it!
They also have Crocodiles in the riverbank near their house. Speaking of gators, they've had some Florida Crackers & UF Gators come and help out at their property before with projects.
There is a library on site that has many books that need to be gone through (wink wink Idsardi's, Dee Shackelford, Friends of the Library).
They invited some of their church members and families to join us for dinner, which was a typical Belizian style meal of white rice, red beans, and chicken. Brian gave another Harvest presentation which incorporates the kids and taking a "flight" to Belize from Wauchula. We can't wait to share this same presentation with you all when we get back to Hardee County at the Hanger. (Day & time to be announced soon)
Speaking of Hardee County, our families have been oh so worried about us flying back on Monday and a storm that's on its way to Belize, meanwhile tornados are touching ground, trees are getting hit by lightning, and power poles are blowing up in Wauchula. Thanks guys for your sincere concerns while your experiencing a mini hurricane yourself! We feel special. And were glad to hear that you all decided to live like us for a few hours and live life without AC in the middle of the day and night and still continue to function. How exciting it is to be reminded of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ joining in on our experience even in Wauchula. (As you can see, no one is safe from making the blog these days), but seriously, we're glad to know... 2 days later... that you are all ok.
Jim Duncan treated us to some music and poems before heading back to Hopewell. Driving in the evening is a little tricky around here. No lights, no street signs, surprise speed bumps, people on bikes, people on bikes drinking, people on bikes drinking with no lights. And yet again we missed our turn. But thankfully, some of our new friends, Joseph & his family were close behind and helped us get back. They even showed us where they lived. Joseph is the one who completed the new bathroom here at Hopewell Children’s Home and can do all kinds of construction.
It was off to bed, late again but ready for some sleep before our last day of ministry in Belize.

Day 5 - August 20, 2017 (Sunday)
Our final day of ministry & meetings had finally arrived. Our schedule seemed to pose a bit of a difficulty when we realized although we had been staying at Hopewell almost every night (but one) we were rolling in every night very late and we weren't getting to spend much time with Marc & Dail, and zero time with the kids they minister to at the Children's Home.
So we quickly devised a plan. Two of us would attend Sharon Arthur's church, and then two of us would attend Joyce Street's church so that we could spend our entire evening at Hopewell. Both were located in the District of Belize (there are 6 districts in Belize, we visited 3 of the 6, 2 cities in Belize, visiting both of them - Belize City & Belmopan, then the rest were either towns or villages). Both churches were also located on the South Side of this district which is where the most violence takes place and gangs are present.
In order to not scare anyone away from joining us on future trips, I want to also add that while on this mission trip I have never once felt unsafe. Between the relationship of the missionaries, the kindness of the people & basic awareness (anytime you're oversees) it has made for an incredible experience!
If you haven't guessed it already, we had a bit of trouble locating the churches. And I think for the first time we had to just let our contact person come find us. In all honesty, she may be doing this every single time, for quite some time, until we can figure out all the one way streets.
Because both of the churches are located in the South-Side, the congregations are unique. For Sharon, Sunday School is for the children from 11am - 1pm. The children come from broken homes and she is providing a light, a hope that can radically change their lives and the future of generations to come. She is passionate about the gospel and the children, and when the two collide it's a beautiful thing to watch. After they finish Sunday School the kids get a snack, some juice and sometimes clothes. This is where Mike & I had our first "popsicle" (frozen flavored water in a square bag).
Another interesting thing I learned about their culture had to do with tattoos. While sitting with one of the older youth, she asked what one of my tattoos meant. After sharing, I told her I hadn't seen many people with tattoos. She confirmed that there were people with them, but I had probably not seen them. She then proceeded to say the reason I hadn't seen them was because we hadn't been to the ghetto.
Meanwhile, Brian & Anna were at Joyce Street's church worshiping at her morning service which was from 11:30am - 2pm. They had the opportunity again to share with the church the importance of Harvest Aviation and how packages were being delivered to support their church & ministry.
It was now 2:30pm, and we were ready for lunch. Brian & I overheard Joyce say we were going to a Lebanese place. While I'm all about trying new things, I was a bit concerned about what this would consist of and all I could think about was our plane ride home the next day that had no bathroom facilities. I thought to myself, this could be real interesting. Because as you know, whatever is served to you, it's rude to not eat it all. As we stood around waiting to leave, I thought it might be best if I ask Sharon what Lebanese food consisted of, I just wanted to mentally prepare myself. But when she responded with, "I don't know, I've never eaten it," I thought, we could be in real trouble if even a Belizean hasn't tried this.
After a quick drive through Belize City looking at some of the historical buildings, we arrived at our destination for lunch. But to our surprise, it was Celebrities not Lebanese! Brian and I had both misunderstood and our lunch meeting with them (in AC) was delightful!
We then headed back to Alexander's to drop off the car he had loaned us and to get some Harvest for Kids rice (we can't wait to tell you more about the rice). Then Marc came to pick us up and take us back to Hopewell.
It was already 6pm and getting dark so we weren't sure if the kids would still be out playing. But they were! And so we quickly split into teams and played some games of volleyball. We were sweating like hogs, getting eaten by misquotes, and looking like crazy Americans trying to keep up with these kids. Although the kids were a little competitive, they were having a blast and so were we!
We at dinner and then the time had come... Bible Quizzing Time. Two of the Interns, Carrisa & Ellen, are from Wisconsin and they were part of Teens for Christ's Bible Quiz Fellowship. They've competed in competitions for a long time, winning nationals in 2012, 2015 & 2016. I couldn't wait to see how this worked because I'm in hopes to get it started in Hardee County. Participants have to be in 6th - 12th grade, memorize verses (in a systematic way) and then compete by answering questions at competitions. A team consists of 4-7 students, with 3 teams of 5 competing at one time. The Quiz Master asks questions and the first to stand up is awarded the opportunity to answer correctly and win points. All team members are sitting on an electronic device that recognizes the first person that stands up to answer. Not only is this a great game of competition, it provides a learning experience for kids no matter their race, gender, or economic status (have you seen the movie Queen of Katwe? If not, you should - same concept). The kids had just competed in a nearby town and were really gaining knowledge of the Bible and getting better and better each day.
As Interns at Hopewell, this was their primary focus and skill they were bringing to the table to teach the kids. Speaking of Interns, Hopewell is looking for an intern beginning in January 2018. If this is something you are interested in, please let me know! (Must be 18 or older to apply) (
It was now time for our final missionary meeting of the trip. And who better to have it with than Marc & Dail. They shared with us their hearts, their passion, their love for the kids but most importantly their desire to raise children that love the Lord, serve him with their whole heart and will be World Changers.
Although it will take some time to go through all the assessments from the missionaries & pastors, we can tell you this much, Hopewell will be in our plans for future trips. And this won't be the last time you hear of them.
The Pilots were off to bed to get ready for a full day of flying tomorrow. So Anna & I stayed up preparing for the biggest day of our life, The Eclipse! We wanted to make sure that we were fully prepared for this day and since we couldn't find any eclipse glasses in Belize, we decided to make some. A little bit of cardboard goes a long way!
Since we'll be traveling most of the day tomorrow and we're unsure of the effects of the eclipse at this point, stay safe my American friends and we hope to "see" you when we get back. If for some reason we all go blind from being up in the sky with the eclipse, crash and burn, it's been real and we look forward to seeing you all again in Glory!

Day 6 - August 21, 2017 (Monday aka The day of the Eclipse)
No alarm clock is really needed in Belize for a few reasons:
1- As I mentioned in a previous post, there is American time & Belizian time. One example of this is that every Missionary that saw our schedule for this trip said, "Wow! You have a very busy schedule." One even indicated that they just knew an American put it together (sorry Jennifer, you've had the pleasure of not being mentioned or making it on the blog for most of the trip, but today is your day to shine!!!). Even though our trip was planned out perfect, one thing we know in missions is that sooner or later, those plans get redirected by God quite often.
Jennifer McConkey volunteers for Harvest Aviation. She is the Logistics Coordinator. She coordinates the trips, helps the Pilots with communication, communicates with the Belizian missionaries, oversees deliveries and helped us get our itinerary for this trip. This trip would not have been possible without her. THANK YOU Jennifer!!! (PS - we can't wait for you to get your passport & join us in the air one day soon)
2 - Belize is 2 hours behind Florida. So we all typically find ourselves getting up a tad bit early, which helps make sure we aren't late (at least for departing each day).
Back to our morning... The Interns, Carrisa Leonard Leddia, Lydia & Ellen Christine Weir were so sweet and made us banana muffins for breakfast, and during our travel. And as always, they were delicious. I plan to visit again before they leave in Nov/Dec, but I thought to myself, it just won't be the same when they aren't here. They have really spoiled us with all the delicious meals they made.
It was 6:30am, right on the dot, and we headed out towards the Airport. Brian went in and started with his process of getting all required forms stamped. The plane was refueled and by 9am we made it in the air.
The flight plan included leaving Belize City to Cozumel, Cozumel to Key West, and Key West to Wauchula where the Harvest Aviation hangar is located.
This trip has by far been one of my favorite, if not the best!!!! Every trip has taught me something different, things I never knew about myself or others. Every trip has shown me more about God & his people, and how much he loves them. Every trip I see poverty, but authentic relationships with God too. BUT every single trip & day of my life, God calls me to honor & praise him in ALL that I do. Because without him, we are broken sinful individuals, in need of a Savior that will provide us a way to Heaven and to have an eternal relationship with him. And Jesus Christ did just that on the cross with his blood being shed, so that I can be his child, an heir of his Kingdom. So that you can also be his child, and heir of the Kingdom.
Let the Nations Be Glad, by John Piper, focuses in on this concept. "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions."
I'm so proud of our team and for being fluid every step along the way. (fluid is our word instead of flexible... flexibility can sometimes break. Whereas fluidity constantly moves around no matter the unexpected obstacles & challenges.)
Our goal for this trip was to meet up with as many missionaries & pastors that Harvest Aviation has been serving through cargo deliveries in order for SMM to determine if taking teams of 2-4 people would be needed and effective. It was to determine what the needs were through the eyes of Belizians (not Americans) and see if we can support their efforts in any way by helping not hurting (if you haven't read When Helping Hurts or Toxic Charity, I encourage you to add it to your reading list and do so if you plan to serve locally or globally).
We're all leaving with a fire in our hearts, a desire to return, a passion to purse, through the leading of the Holy Spirit. We hope that you will join with us on this amazing journey that God has us on in our temporary home on this earth.
Well, all good things must come to an end eventually. It's been real, real fun! Maps (Anna Braddock Dickey), Camera (Michael Burch) & Hola (Brian)... Until next time, this is Ghetto (Jamie Davis-Samuels) signing off.
For more information about:
Harvest Aviation
Follow us on social media for updates, details on our share time service that will take place soon, and needs that you might can help meet for the Missionaries in Belize.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Day 2 cont & Day 3 Belize Mission Team

Day 2 Continued

Once arriving back in Belize City, we waited at the airport for Alexander to pick us up and take us back to his place where he let us borrow their family vehicle for the rest of our trip.

We still had one package that we had brought in as cargo on the plane that we needed to deliver to a local pastor. We had attempted to deliver it on Wednesday night and visit their church for services, but after realizing we had past the "yellow" bus stop many miles away, that there are multiple Puma Gas stations, and mile marker 8 was no where in sight... we knew it was best to get back to Hopewell.

But this time we found the yellow bus stop and Pastor Pleas Myers (pronounced Play-us) He and his daughter, Rain, met us on the side of the road to exchange the package and we had the privilege of hearing his heart for the people of his church. Pastor Pleas, originally from Belize, but has lived in NY for quite some time, is new to the church. As a single dad, living in the church, and trying to make ends meet, he shared how even he as a Pastor struggles just like the people of his church. Church in this area is know for being legalistic and skeptic of the different Pastors coming in and out of the church. Pastor Pleas just wants them to know the real God who doesn't care what they wear to church but how they bring their hearts.

It was a sweet, short time of fellowship & prayer with Pastor Pleas, and we hope to continue to keep up with him & baby Rain in future trips to come.

We came back to Hopewell a tad bit later than we expected but to a delicious meal made by the 3 most kindest interns ever! Chicken, salad & some delicious chocolate cupcakes. They've really spoiled us around here, that's for sure.

We sat and fellowship with Marc & Dail again. And then it was to bed.

Day 3 - August 18, 2017

Morning started around 7am at Hopewell with cinnamon raisin french toast and bread fruit (which tastes like french fries). The 3 interns I've mentioned in previous posts are the best.

We packed up and headed out to Belmopan to meet up with the Fritzler's. We hadn't even made it down the road a few miles when we ran into a police check point. Mike had to show his license, passport and explain why we were here. Luckily Marc was behind us in his van and told the officers we were with him. Couldn't take off though before snapping a picture with them.

The night before when we had picked up the borrowed vehicle from Alexander, we were talking with Lisa, one of the staff members for Belize Camping Experience, who was planning to head over to Belmopan for 2 weeks on break. So we offered to pick her up so she could ride with us instead of the bus.

We took a little detour on the way to Belmopan to stop and visit a Pastor in More Tomorrow that Brian had met before on a previous trip. After some of Anna's "oh so accurate" directions and what seemed an hour down the road, we finally looped around back to the road we were supposed to be on and found the house. Pastor was not there, but his wife and two boys were, Harrison & Thomas.

We made it to Belmopan and met up with Jadine & Craig Fritzler who prepared lunch for us at their home. Craig & Jadine have been living in Belize for quite some time and are well established in their area.  They've also been missionaries for a really long time with some amazing (and scary) stories about serving as missionaries in Africa. Their daughter lives just on the other side of the road with her husband who is from Belize and she teaches dance. Craig has been teaching Bible School (not VBS, but actual Bible classes for many years) and is currently doing this through extension (taking the classes to the students due to limited transportation for most locals).

Jadine started a Pregnancy Center about 3 years ago and works with local women through counseling and educating. The women earn baby dollars as they take classes, watch videos and participate in their baby's progress to being born healthy. More ways to partner with Hope for Life will be made available soon. (For those of you familiar with Choices Family Resource Centers in Hardee County, this ministry is very similar.)

After meeting with the Fritzler's we decided to check out the local market. Then it was time to find a sweet treat. We stopped at Antonini's for some ice cream (thanks to Anna's GREAT directions this time)!!! Jadine recommended a cute little store down the road for some shopping, called the Art Box Arts & Crafts Centre. Be sure to check out our Purpose With A Purpose store in December for some new items!!!

Then we called for directions to our next stop which included going through 3 villages (that were unmarked, like pretty much every road and village in Belize). But our landmarks included going over 7 speed bumps and then we'd be there. (It was pretty important that we got the directions right, because we ran out of minutes on our local phone and didn't have time to stop).

It was at this meet up where we learned that if you are driving down the road and want to take a left but there is traffic behind and there is traffic oncoming, you should pull to the right, allow the traffic behind you to pass and then turn left. You should NOT stop in the road with your left blinker on, because the Semi behind is NOT going to be stopping and waiting for you. It was a close one, but now we know (thanks to Mike & Mr. Semi Driver).

This is where we met Pastor James Jones. He's a new Pastor and eager to learn more about the Bible now that he's no longer working for the US Embassy and starting his own company.

We met James' family, Gina, their 3 girls, and another girl on the way, due Dec 18th. James took us to meet up with some other missionary's Lee & Leslie who are recently retired, new to the Missions field & Belize. They shared with us of their different outreach opportunities with a community that needs so much!

Then it was off to church for a church dinner. We had the opportunity to share a Harvest Presentation with the church members and then ate dinner with them. They even had made a cake for us with our names on it.

This church (with 8 others) were founded by Pastor Lee, originally from Korea who came to Belize with her brother a long time ago. She has since retired and mentors Pastor James. She shared with us how she had a vision of a place and once she got to Belize she began the process of building Prayer Mountain. It is here where God's beauty meets with every flower in the garden, every bird in the sky and every person who listens with their hearts open wide. Words can not describe the beauty and pictures can not capture the moment of what takes place in your soul at Prayer Mountain where God's creation is magnified and no one can doubt the hand of God!

What was so amazing is that this beauty was unseen when we arrived because it was pitch black. But when we woke up in the morning, to the sound of birds singing his praises, you knew you were walking with God. And that Ms. Lee (a women that used every single resource she had to create this place) had been walking with God for many years.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Day 2 - Belize Mission Team Update

Day 2 Belize Mission Team Update (August 17, 2017)

Who will make the blog tonight... has now turned in to the biggest question of the day. All jokes aside, why bother blogging anyways? One of the most valuable things I've learned in ministry is support! Without it, we burn out. With out it, we aren't encouraged. With out it, we deny others the opportunity to be a part of missions & what God is doing. Support doesn't always mean financial. It includes prayer, encouragement, accountability. And through your support of reading this blog from each day we spend with local missionaries, I know that you are joining with us on this amazing adventure God has us on.

Today started off with breakfast at Hopewell (the children's home we are staying at while in Belize City). It has AC which is amazing! A wonderful bathroom in each of our rooms (girls in one and guys in the other) and the 3 young interns, including Marc & Dail cook for us while we are here.

After eating breakfast and heading to the airport. We began the process of a domestic flight, which hasn't been done yet by Harvest Aviation in Belieze. Brian was taking care of all the forms & approvals needed. We turned in our rental car (thank goodness, before Anna ripped off the front bumper hitting more speed bumps), we were ready to head out and fly to Punta Gorda (located in South Belize)... passports, check! Fuel, check! Keys to the plane... I repeat, keys to the plane... oh, that's right... they're back Hopewell in the suite case. While we don't have pictures of the "official key drop off," (thanks to Marc) we know that the delay for our trip had a reason. We still have no idea of what this reason was, but we didn't let it ruin our day, and off we headed south.

We had to fly lower than we wanted and for whatever reason, not only was it a bit bumpy down, it was HOT! Not just a little hot, but very hot. And it seemed it was getting increasingly hotter the further we flew. My two thumbs, I'm o.k hand signals to Mike, turned into a "so-so" until about 5 minutes before landing, when everything went down (or should I say, up). I quickly asked Anna for THE BAG and that's all she wrote (banana, breakfast, who knows what else, but it was all there!)

Again, the trip was still going to happen. None of these set backs were going to stop us. Jervis Fisher,  with Laugh Out Loud (children's home) met us at the airport and gave us a tour of the city. Punta Gorda is very poor, thave a great futball team, that they hope to keep excelling so they can one day make it out, but was stood out... was UNITY! The Pastors in this area meet every other Saturday encouraging one another, talking about the needs in their church & village, linking up with other church groups and supporting each other. For them it's not a matter of competition, it's about maximizing the limited resources they have.

Jervis shared his testimony with us, of how God took him, a simple ordinary troubled man, and restored his heart not through man's wisdom but through his love & passion to take care of the orphans. Melissa, Jervis' wife, just like the missionary couple we met with yesterday, stands by his side. They are both such an encouragement to see how these young couples follow God's will and the leading of the Holy Spirit to do what seems to be the impossible in Belize. Neither have made it on their own. They've made great strides in ministry through the support of others & through their complete dependence on God to show off in ways they could never imagine.

The rest of the team went to tour the chocolate field & dorms where teams stay when they visit. While I laid in the prayer room recovering from the flight. I was offered an IV, but as soon as I heard needle, I peeked up and become better immediately ;)

We ate a later lunch at a local taco stand. It made me feel like I was in Wauchula back at our taco stand. We loaded up and headdd back to Belize City.

There's more to Day 2, but today has been long already. So since we'll be traveling again tomorrow, I'll leave the rest of my Day 2 thoughts, to be shared tomorrow.

Prayers for Friday:
1) Sage travels for the team to Belmopan
2) Divine appointments with 2 more local missionaries
3) Good health for all team members
4) God's clear discernment as to what he wants us to do with all this information from the missionaries
5) The harvest is plenty, the workers are few! Pray about joining us soon in this amazing adventure in Belize!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day 1 - Belize Harvest Aviation Team

Day 1 - Wednesday (August 16, 2017)

Our day started out early by meeting at Harvest Aviation at 5am in Wauchula. You might be thinking to yourself, an airport... in Wauchula?!?! You read right, there is an airport in Wauchula AND we have a mission organization that serves the people of Belize. (More details to come in future posts...)

Once we took off, we made our way to Key West, where we would fuel up, stretch our legs, and use the restroom. Oh, yes, I might have forgot to mention, our plane holds 4 people and some cargo. Our team consists of Pilot, Brian Smith; Co-Pilot, Mike Burch; Anna Dickey, and myself, Jamie Samuels.

Once taking off from Key West around 8:15am we made our way to Cozumel. Here we landed to pay some fees, go through customs and you guessed it, stretch our legs & use the restroom.

Then it was off to Belize. Belize is 2 hours behind Florida (EST) and so we landed around noon. Here we go through customs again and then meet up with the missionaries who are picking up their packages. Harvest Aviation has been serving Belize for many years now and they bring cargo (packages of supplies) to missionary partners who have purchased items that are either very expensive in Belize or items they can't even get here. This is the typical type of trip Harvest Aviation takes every single month. Typically the 2 Pilots bring the cargo, stay a night, and head back.

But, this trip is a little different. SendMeMissions has partnered with Harvest Aviation to see just what else is out here in the way of missionary relationships, missionary needs, and community needs.

Our schedule is packed!!! As soon as we landed, we rented a car (thanks to our amazing driver, Anna Dickey) and stopped for lunch with George Ferrar and Alexander & Leah Perez. We had local Belizian food... fried chicken.

It was here that we heard the hearts of both these men, working to unify the churches, unifying their cities, unifying believers and making disciples.

Before heading to Alexander & Leah's home we stopped to buy a local phone. It's always interesting how the schedule can change with one wrong turn, a little bad weather, or traffick. So this would allow us to communicate with the missionaries better in the days to come and for them to reach us as well.

Once arriving at Alexander & Leah's house we were greated by little Chase, their 2 year old boy, and their daughter. The staff were introduced to us and they begin to very passionately share with us why Belize Camping Experience (their nonprofit) was so important to the City of Belize.

Their focus is to see Belize change Belize, by disciplining children and youth. The youth are able to stay during the summer for camp and help lead and train others in the city. Then during the "off" season (Sep-May) they conduct follow ups with all the children & youth they served during the summer.

They have visions to grow, to see more disciples of Christ, to connect ranchers & farms from the U.S. with those in Belize, to find partners who won't come in to change things or do things for them, but to support their efforts where God is already at work! We can't wait to see what the future holds with Alexander & Leah!

We took a few photos, gathered for prayer and made our way back on the road for church which began at 7pm. But one road led to another, and then another, and then who knows where we were... but we weren't at church. And while I'm super grateful for Anna's driving, it was on this stretch of the trip that I realized I might not have enough Dramamine with me, and that the flight over was more smooth than her driving over speed bumps at 90 kilometers per hour.

As it got dark and we realized we would not make it to church, we headed back to Hopewell, where we would be staying for the night. Mike & Dale made us some chicken, rice & beans, and the best mango cobbler I've ever had (well it might have been my first mango cobbler ever, but it was delicious!

We're all tucked in. Showered up (even though my shower was warm & Anna's was cold - that's what she gets for going over those speed bumps so fast). And tomorrow is another big day as we fly over to Punta Gorda to meet with more missionaries.

As I close, I'm reminded of the struggles we share with our brothers & sisters in Christ. The need for unity and the need for discipleship. It doesn't matter our location in the world, these aren't 3rd world problems, or western problems, these are our sinful problems. They result from pride, from business, from being self centered instead of Kingdom minded. Where do you fit into this equation? Are you the problem or the solution? Are you trying to find where God is at work to serve him & his people or are you worried about the politics of the church, the Sunday morning attendance, the things of this world and not spending time deepening your relationship with Christ?

May we all take some time this week to re-prioritize our to-do lists and make sure God gets our first!!!

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. -Col 2:6-8

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NY Mission Team Update (Day 3)

Monday - July 3rd (Day 3)

We met the kiddos today! After our morning prayer & devotion and a subway ride (with a 40 lb suitcase & and a few flights of stairs) we arrived at the church, welcomed by over 60 children. ALL the kiddos had high ENERGY! The group was divided into 3-4 smaller groups for Bible study lessons. Space is an issue for this church but it doesn't keep them from getting maxed out with neighborhood kids. Have I mentioned ALL the kiddos had high ENERGY! So having extra adults to help refocus the kids appeared to be much appreciated. We have team members ready and willing to be used however directed by staff even if your are English speaking only yet asked to take over a lesson that has just been given in Spanish - no clue what the lesson was about, but you do have 30 seconds to review the lesson 😂 Morning session also included at least a 10 minute walk to the park. A walk to the park with busy intersections and 60 high energy kiddos 😲 Afternoon session was the time our team divided up and overseen the games, crafts, and music. Each with its own learning curves through the session but really mostly laughter. Looking forward to the adventures God has for us in the remainder of the week. - Lidenia Servin

Sunday, July 2, 2017

NY Mission Team Update (Day 2)

July 2, 2018 - Sunday (Day 2) 

The team was able to attend Sunday service at the church were we will be serving at this week, and get a glimpse of were we will be set up our VBS activities. Our afternoon outing was to visit the 9/11 memorial. Each team member was to choose a person who lost their life on 9/11 atleast a week before we left for our trip. We were to familiarize ourselves with their story and the family they left behind. When we got to the memorial we searched out the persons names, each member shared about the person they chose, and then we prayed for their families. Amazingly and God orchestrated, Terah chose a 2 year old girl and another team member had chosen the little girl's parents. Side note: There's interesting people in the subways (and Time Square) -Lidenia Servin 

NY Mission Team Arrives Safely

Saturday - July 1st (Day 1)
Arrived safely to our destination, if you were praying🙏 thank you!
Today was about getting settled in at Metropolitan New York Baptist Association and buying some of our groceries for the week. Continue to pray for our team as we prepare to help with VBS activities at First Spanish Baptist Church of Manhattan. - Lidenia Servin 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

You can make a difference... even when you aren't on foreign soil!

Everyone has a part to play in sharing the gospel. So many believe that if they aren't going on an international mission trip, they aren't as important. But that's just one of Satan's lies. When a team is on the mission field in another country, we all have a role to play... There are those that helped financially to send the team, there are those who gave of their time and helped the team prepare for the trip, but there is something we can all do no matter our age, race, gender, denomination, or income... PRAY! 

Hardee County has two youth teams out in the field this week. They are finishing up the work they've been called to do and will begin preparation to come back to the U.S. Departing from a foreign country after falling in love with the people is always bittersweet.

  • Pray for each of the team members as they say goodbye and return to their home mission field in Hardee County. 
  • Pray for the conversations they will have with other students next week as they return back to school and that God give them the same boldness they have in Haiti and the Dominican Republic at Hardee Senior High School. 
  • Pray for safe travels home. 
  • Pray for their spiritual walk with the Lord and their conversations with Him throughout the next few weeks. May they apply what they've learned and seen to their every day walk with Christ.
  • Pray that the impact of this trip forever change their lives and that they always seek opportunities to share the gospel with others and show love. 
  • Pray that each team member recognize that they are always on mission for the Lord and that our mission field is where we are each and every day. 
He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out worked into his harvest field." - Luke 10:2

Haiti Mission Team - Florida's First Assembly 

Dominican Republic Mission Team - First Christian Church