What an amazing year it has been for us as we reflect on the events of our first year with Teen Missions. In our first year of Bible School, with just five students, we finished final exams the week before summer camp began. We finished the year well, although, we were disappointed to have three of our students leave the school just before camp. The students were to help us lead the two teams we had scheduled for the next five weeks. Two of the students remained to help us with camp. We needed three leaders for each team, and once again, God was faithful to meet our need. We had three volunteers from the community, two students, and Becca filled in the last position to help lead one of the teams.
Our two teams, Joy and Faith, had eleven youth on each team. Sarah joined the Faith team. After the ten-day training camp, they worked on various projects at the TMI property for the first two weeks. They were also busy preparing to teach Vacation Bible School, which we held the third week of our project time in a small village that is known for having heavy gang activity. The team slept in a small church on the floor and shared the kitchen and bathroom with the pastor’s family of five. It was a humbling experience to have been hosted by such a poor, yet generous, family. The VBS was a great success! Sarah and Gaby created their own curriculum based on a few theme songs and put together choreographies, dramas and crafts for the entire week of school. We had anywhere from 50-100 children attend the VBS each day. Many of the children accepted the Lord as their Savior for the first time during that week. The team also joined the pastor in personal evangelism in his neighborhood, and the youth were able to share Christ with others for the very first time. In this week alone, we were able to see about 40 people make a decision to follow Jesus.
Gabriela participated with the Joy team and helped build a pavilion in the yard of a primary school in Santa Martha. It will serve as a dining area for the children during their lunch hour. They slept in the classrooms of the school and enjoyed playing with the children in the evenings during their free time. They also were able to do some personal evangelism and saw about 30 people come to know the Lord as their Savior.
The last week of camp we joined both teams together again for a time of “Debrief”. This was a fun time of games, sharing and reflection of our summer projects. We also had many teachings to help prepare them to stand strong in their faith as they return to the peer pressures of life. Sixteen of our 22 youth attended camp made a commitment to serve the Lord in full-time service. We were so grateful to see how many of their lives had been transformed through the Word of God.
David and Caleb were busy overseeing the two Belizean teams and the American team that we hosted. We received a team of about 30 youth from the states after they completed their Boot Camp in Florida. They worked on building a hurricane shelter in the small village of Copper Bank where three of our students live. We were able to get all three teams together on a few occasions and visit some of the Mayan ruins and go cave tubing. It was a blessing to have them here.
Another great blessing from this summer and a big answer to our prayers was the worship leader that God brought our way during camp. A week before our leadership training began, we met with a young Belizean woman who had been praying for God to send her to a camp to be involved with during the summer. God was working to answer both of our prayers as He brought us together for an amazing summer of friendships and growth amidst the praise and worship! She had only committed to join us for the first ten days of our “Boot Camp”, but returned the following day to say she wanted to go the distance and finish the camp with us to the end. Melissa made a comment about how Teen Missions camp is so unique in that it teaches youth to work hard and serve others. She said there has never been a camp like this in Belize before and was so encouraged by what Teen Missions is doing. Melissa was such a blessing to all of us and is looking forward to joining us again next year.
As for the BMW school in Belize, we have temporarily closed this year due to a lack of students. We finished our summer camp with only two students remaining and had no potential students participate in our summer camp. In the meantime, we are continuing to develop relationships and disciple those who came to know the Lord this past year. There is plenty of maintenance work on the property to keep us busy, and homeschool for Sarah, Gabriela and Caleb is a full-time job in itself.
Sarah will be 16 years old next year and is registered to go to Kurdistan, Iraq with a Teen Missions team over the summer. Her team will be teaching English in a school while getting acquainted with the youth. She has been reading about the Muslim religion and carries a burden to minister to them. She will be sharing more information with you on her summer project as the time gets closer.
We were blessed with an opportunity to return to Colorado in August to visit with our family and many friends. It was such a wonderful time of fellowship to see some of you and again be encouraged by your love towards our family. We were also treated, by our family, to a cruise to Alaska with David’s parents for a week. It was a beautiful time to be together and catch up on much needed rest.
Thank you for your faithful partnership with us in this ministry. God’s love is a fountain of life and we pray that it would continue to reach out and touch the lives of those who touch yours.
Serving the Lord together,
David & Becca
Orange Walk Town, Belize, C.A.