Correct operation of a hand puppet

Today I helped out with the Vacation Bible School/children’s ministry.  They taught the school kids songs, gave them little gifts, and performed a puppet show.  My job for the day was to be in the puppet chorus.  The audio for the show is prerecorded so we only had to “act.”

My puppet looked a bit like Ernie from Sesame Street. I can’t remember the last time I acted with a puppet.  I didn’t have any training.  So I totally overlooked the fact that not only could I open and close the mouth, but I could also operate the arms, had I the wherewithal to stick fingers in the arm holes.

It wasn’t until after the puppet show that I realized the additional expressive abilities available through the arms.  Next time, I’ll know.

Belize Day 1

The day started with a hearty breakfast and morning worship service.  Paul asked me the night before if I would be willing to make a mission team video, which I was happy to do.  So I broke out some of the video gear that I had packed and was ready for the day.

We started by going out to the mission site.  On the site, there are two metal roofed pavilions, a grass roofed pavilion, and a well.  We took a team picture in front of the grass roofed pavilion, then went on a prayer walk around the property, ending at the well.  The local pastors then led us in a prayer in their native languages.

The official language of Belize is english, but there are also several other native languages, including Spanish and various forms of the Mayan/Indian language.

DSC08103The construction team stayed at the mission site to take on various projects while I went with the medical and VBS teams to a nearby school.  I stayed to document the setup and then tagged along with Paul, Steve, and Darwin to see the newly completed Rio Baptist Church.  I had a great time talking to and getting to know these gentlemen and also getting a first hand look at how the ministry works.

Church Planting

International Servants spends a lot of time on church planting. Paul describes the process in 3 phases.

In the first phase, the Pioneering phase, the church is just starting and a leader/pastor that is passionate about spreading the Gospel. At this point, the church, as it grows, is funded 100%.

As the congregation develops a steady attendance, it enters the Parenting phase.  A wood/leaf hut building is built and the church is expected to fund itself 50%.  

Once the church has grown enough, moves into the Partnering phase.  The church is expected to fund 100% of it’s activities and a permanent structure is built of concrete.

Short term mission teams are involved with churches in the parenting phase and not in the pioneering or partnering stages.

Link to help International Servants fund construction.

Arriving in Belize

Sunday started like any other day, except that instead of going to church for morning service, I was meeting the mission team to head off to the country of Belize to serve with International Servants (www.iservants.org).

I had a little problem with security, which is unusual since I travel so much.  The TSA decided to check my hiking boots for explosives and then also decided to swab my back pack.  I’m not sure what made them decide to do that – there wasn’t anything that I don’t usually carry.

Then I had a problem with the gate agent for American Airlines.  I had my boarding pass at the gate and was about to get on the plane, when the lady scanning passes said that she needed to check my passport.  So I got out of line, went to the gate agent, showed her my passport and got a new boarding pass (which was identical to the former boarding pass).  Got back in line to board the plane and the same gate agent, without scanning my boarding pass said she needed to check my passport.  My response was “The gate agent just checked my passport,” and she responded with “oh, okay.”

Very odd – I”m really not sure why she needed to check my passport again.  Regardless, I was able to get on the plane.

The flight was uneventful, as was the landing.  The airport in Belize is a bit small, so once the pilot stopped the 737, he had to pivot around and taxi back up the runway to pull off at the terminal.

We exited the plane with an old fashioned staircase (not a jet bridge) and walked outside on the tarmac down to the arrival hall, so we were able to experience the Belizan climate immediately.  There was also several Cessna Caravans parked out on the tarmac, ready to whisk you off to other nearby islands or countries.

Evan and his former DART bus.We were met at the airport by Evan, our bus driver.  He actually owns the bus company with his brother and mother and doesn’t usually drive buses, but he makes an exception for International Servants teams.  His bus, in a previous life, belonged to Dallas Area Rapid Transit.  The bus ride to La Placentia took about 3 hours.  The Belizan countryside is beautiful – a lush tropical landscape.  Unfortunately, once we got to La Placentia, it was already dark.  Belize does not ‘celebrate’ daylight savings time, so the sun comes up around 5am and sets around 6pm.  By the time we arrived, it was about 7pm.  We had a really good dinner and some initial instructions before heading off to bed.  I also had the privilege of meeting Paul and his wife.

Belize Mission Trip

I am excited to be able to tell you about this year’s mission trip! This year, I have the opportunity and privilege of joining a team that will go to Belize and serve alongside International Servants. This organization is dedicated to serving the needs of the people of Belize through medical missions, children’s programs, and evangelism programs. For this trip, we will be working with the construction team to continue building a complex that would serve as a hospital, orphanage, school, and dormitory for visiting missionaries.

The International Servants website has a lot of great information about the organization if you would like to find out more. It includes pictures and biographies of the missionaries. The address is http://iservants.com.

If you are interested in investing in this project, there are two great ways to do so:
1. Pray: Having an active and engaged prayer team for this mission would be a great blessing and we would be thankful for that support
2. Contribute: The mission will cost a total of $1800 per person in addition to purchasing additional needed medical supplies, construction tools, children’s clothes, and school supplies. Feel free to give any amount you can – every bit is appreciated.

Thank you in advance for helping our team with this mission trip. We will certainly take pictures and videos of the work we are doing to share with you.

To make a financial contribution:

You can mail a check, payable to MMBC. On the memo line, please note “Belize – Dhuru”. Checks can be mailed to McKinney Church, 4805 Arborlawn Dr., Fort Worth, TX 76109.

You can also give online at www.mckinneychurch.com/givetoateam

According to IRS rules, gifts are tax deductible only if McKinney Memorial Bible Church has the right to spend your gift as it sees fit. Your gift will be used to further the Gospel at the discretion of the McKinney Global Missions Committee.