by Lizz Foxhoven
Ben Henderson, Phil Perez, David Chadwick, Tula Chadwick, Jazmin Velazquez, Jeff Hoffman, Patsy DeCastro, Monte Choate, Caitlyn Caffey, Leo Pinto. Kneeling: Lizz Foxhoven and Chad Detwiler
A week of following God that we can’t do at home because of distractions. At least that’s true for me. I feel like I have to schedule time to do God’s work. Whereas on a mission trip, I just know that everything that happens is part of God’s plan.
We go with a plan. Sometimes the plans work; sometimes we learn flexibility. But it all feels like it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Our plan was to arrive in Belize City, take a van down to Sittee River Lodge, arriving in time for dinner. The van broke down; change of plans. But what a blessing that it broke down before we got it rather than as we were travelling! We made other arrangements, which worked out fine, maybe better, for us for the week.
Our plan was to work at the Sittee River Methodist church. They had roof leaks, soffit and fascia needs, and needed painting inside and out. They were still power washing when we arrived, so we got a little late start. But we had a few members willing to go up on the roof right away. They put on a sticky tape over every single nail in the roof, which would seal it up preventing any leaks. That took a few days. The rest of us began scraping off old paint around church. We started painting on the first afternoon. There was scaffolding set up so we could reach as high as we needed, mostly. The front and the back had really high peaks, so we had to figure that out. A couple of guys began the task of adding soffit. They had to build a framework for it and then put on the board that would later be painted.
As it turns out we got two coats of paint on the outside, sometimes fighting termite infestations. We got all the nail holes sealed in the roof and local guys began painting it. There were some repairs going on inside. Local people were working on the inside, and got the mudding done and the first coat of paint. We did the second coat. We didn’t have time to install soffit all the way around the church, but got the front and back and devised a new plan for the sides. So, our task, though changed slightly, was essentially finished.
Our plan was to go play with kids at the school playground each afternoon. We arrived with some frisbees, jump ropes, soccer and basketballs. Plenty of kids showed up and loved the attention and the time we spent with them. Most of us were pretty tired from working all day at the church, but still had the energy to swing a rope or throw a frisbee. Some jumped rope and played basketball with the kids. Maybe a couple of us would wander over to the playground equipment and sit with one or two kids.
Between the kids, the people of the church, the caretakers of the lodge where we stayed, we fulfilled our purpose. Our task was to work on the church, but our purpose was to represent Jesus in all that we do. I really felt like everyone we met knew we were the hands and feet of God. We were doing God’s work and they were the beneficiaries.
We all met some new people on the trip. There were 12 of us. No one knew everyone. The 12 of us – the 12 apostles – that was lost on no one. We worked and played together so well, as if we were hand-picked by God. Everyone expressed how much they were getting out of the trip. Growth just happens!
A couple of people came back with (what turned out to be) slight medical issues. There’s a particular bug that we have a new respect for! But we all learned that coming with a willing heart is about the only requirement for a mission trip. I have joked about it before, but going on mission trips really is an addiction. One that I’m not looking to cure.