Every mission trip has a different vibe - and this one is no exception. Voices In Praise is navigating their days well, and battling the heat and humidity with grace and perseverance.
Yesterday, we started at a nursing home in Belize. The choir sang a concert and visited with residents.
It’s always amazing to me to see how God shows up in different settings. We were singing a beautiful piece called “Be Not Afraid” and I looked at one of my altos. She had tears just rolling down her face as she offered words from the scripture of Isaiah: Be not afraid for I have redeemed you. Be not afraid, I have called you by name. I have no idea what was going through her mind at that exact moment, but I know that she was singing her heart out and as I looked at this child, who has had a tough year, I was just overwhelmed.
In that same concert, as we sang Here I am, Lord, many of the residents joined us in singing along. One particular resident of the nursing home used to sing in a choir, and really enjoyed the music. She approached Briana and Iain, and asked if we could sing some songs. Specifically - When the Saints Go Marching In. Thankfully, we had that piece in our repertoire list! She stood up with the choir, held a shaker, and sang-along.
After that performance, we boarded the bus for a long, hot ride out to the Mayan ruins. We stopped for lunch at a person’s home. They had prepared the traditional meal of chicken, rice and beans, and coleslaw. We enjoyed trying soda, including Fanta strawberry and Fanta pineapple! They also had fresh coconuts and many of the kids tried drinking directly from them! It’s an interesting experience for our kids to get to see the home of the local Belize resident, and what their day-to-day life looks like.
We headed out to the Mayan ruins and enjoyed a brief tour. We took some group photos and the kids climbed the temple! In true VIP few fashion, they had a rehearsal at the top.
They also did a little souvenir shopping in the stands outside the ruins. I always appreciate the way that VIPs look out for one another. One of our juniors was walking back with our youngest singer. She said to me, “I’m going to go with her and help her exchange her bracelet.” When I said “Why?” she said “Well, I think she got a pattern that she probably doesn’t really want. She didn’t know what it means.” Our young VIP had purchased a bracelet with leaves on it, not understanding that they were pot leaves. The girls exchanged it. 🙂
After our visit to the ruins, we had another long bus ride back to the city. I think this was the hardest part of the day. The kids were tired and hot, and really could’ve used a dip in the pool. But we had another concert. They rallied in true VIP fashion and delivered an exceptional performance on the plaza at a church called Divine Mercy. We had a fun crowd that included their youth group. The youth group prepared dinner for us and our kids enjoyed hanging out with them. There was a good game of tag with the youngest kids at the concert, and basketball with the teenagers In the absence of a hoop, we had to get creative-- people stood in as hoops.
Note: we have some awesome photos of VIPs playing games with children here. Out of respect for their privacy, we are not posting theme here until we have permission to do so.
We returned to the hotel late, after a fun but fulfilling day. Josh Colindres led a wonderful Devo and we closed the night.
After dinner, we treated the kids to ice cream and enjoyed exploring the local grocery store where we picked up a few necessities like a soccer ball.