I joined a team from my church that went to Belize to serve with International Servants (check out iservants.com) in May of 2014. This ministry is primarily focused on church planting has established over 50 churches so far. In addition to church planting, Paul Whisnant and his team also provide access to medical care and basic pharmaceuticals, children’s programs that provide meals and bible education, and construction services for ministry related structures.
Miracles: Getting Stuck
Paul’s Ministry Anniversary
2014-05 Belize Medical (Long, 6:14)
2014-05 Belize Medical (Short, 3:28)
Childrens’ Ministry (4:21), or view Subtitled version
Other Sights and Sounds of Belize
Official Blog Entries
Entries from the McKinney Missions blog.
Team Belize 2014 (May 4-10)
Day 1&2: We’ve Arrived and Then Some…
Day 3: Getting the Flow Down
Day 4: Feed a Child
Day 5: Lunch with Crisantos’ Family
Belize is in a tropical climate and has a very interesting and wide variety of plants and trees. One that I thought was very interesting is the Mimosa pudica, otherwise known as the “Touch-Me-Not.” This plant is found in many locations in Central America as well as Southern Texas. When the leaves of this plant are touched, they fold up against the stalk.
More information from Wikipedia
My video of a Touch-Me-Not
Leaf Cutter Ants
Leaf Cutter Ants are also found mainly in Central America and other tropical locations. This ant comes in a variety of sizes in the same ant hill and serves two very important and surprising purposes.
1. The large ant can be used to suture a wound. Take the large ant, place it across the wound and let it bit down, then break off the body.
My very short video of a few ants
More information from Wikipedia
Someone else’s video demo of the Leaf Cutter Ants jaw power
Discovery Channel: Dual Survival, Leaf Cutter Ant Sutures
2. The dirt from the ant hill can be mixed with water which, upon drying, is very much like cement.
The typical house in Belize is a single room ‘hut.’ The walls are made either with wood boards, if available. Otherwise, they are several straight polls placed next to each other. The roofs are made of palm leaves interwoven and tied to the roof frame.
Ninja and Simba were clearly upset that I had left them alone for a week with a kitty sitter. They decided to practice Al-feline law and sacrifice a roll of toilet paper each.
This is the fourth mission trip that I’ve been on. Each trip has been quite different – each with it’s own challenges and blessings. The first trip I went on was to Florence, Italy. First world countries present the greatest challenge to spreading the gospel. After all, if you don’t need anything – if you’re not desperate – why would you need God? The level of indifference was astounding. The second trip was to Zambia. Such an amazing experience to see belief in it’s purest form among people who have nothing to lose, because they have nothing to begin with! A great lesson for first world believers. Then last year I went to Albi, France. On that trip, I got to see how true belief in Christ flourished in another community as we helped build a house for a small church’s new pastor.
Belize was much more like Zambia. This country has such a rich history and the people here have almost nothing as far as wealth or assets. What made this trip different from other trips was the depth of relationships the missionary, Paul, had in this country. He has a very long and rich history with the Belizians that you can see the appreciation in the people that call him friend.
I would love to go back and see how Belize changes over the next several years. While I was there, it was apparent that the country is beginning to grow, perhaps due to in influx of financial support from the first world. Their highway was recently (4-5 years ago) was built by the US. There are several buildings and water towers reminding to be grateful to the EU.
Belize is going to grow pretty quickly over the next few years. I would like to see the churches there grow even faster than the economic infrastructure, but it’s going to take a lot of people to make that happen.
Here is a list of miscellaneous pieces of information that don’t relate to a story or particular event… just little things I picked up that I thought were interesting.
- The grass roof hut is still a very common structure for Belizians to live in, especially outside of the major cities – in the jungle areas.
- Typical meals include rice, beans, and chicken. Iguana is considered a delicacy.
- To get around, people most often walk or take the bus. Bicycles are also an option.
- Many of the staff at our hotel actually live onside for several months and then will go home for a few weeks. One person said they live about 4 hours away by bus towards the west, near the border between Belize and Guatemala
- When a group of us went snorkeling or scuba diving, we talked to the park rangers a little bit. There are 3 rangers for this beautiful little island. The rangers work shifts of 2 weeks on and 1 week off, taking different weeks off so that there is always coverage on the island.
- Many people in the town of La Placentia are from the same family, which makes dating and relationships difficult.
Here is a link to the official blog post about the fifth day of the Belize Mission trip!
Summary: Quick set up at the clinic, lunch at Crisantos’ house, the medical team sees 362 patients to date, construction team completes various tasks, and the VBS team sees 700 kids to date.