The whole group woke up very early Friday morning to make our trip to Dangriga.  Yesterday we were going snorkeling in the Carribbean!  When we got to the place in Dangriga where we were to take a boat out to an island, I (Mark) went into the bathroom and after I was finished a crab was in the bathroom!  I quickly ran out of the bathroom to meet the rest of the group on the boat.  Our group took a 40 minute boat ride out to the island where we were staying for the morning and the afternoon.  Once we got out to the island, everyone was welcomed by our guide and we had this amazing tropical juice, except for Pastor George and Don who went straight to the coffee!  Finally, we made our way out to the waters where we were going to be snorkeling in the clear blue water.  Many people had to learn how to use the snorkeling equipment and had to get used to the feeling of snorkeling before they went out into the deeper parts.  While we were out there, we got to see baracouda, sting rays, nurse sharks (Which we never got to see before), and a blow fish!  However, not all of us went snorkeling..... Pastor George spent his time fishing in the ocean for the first time in his life!  While he was fishing, if I remember correctly he caught a 21 inch bone fish and he also caught many other fish!  Finally it was time to leave back to the mainland where we were going to have our dinner.  When we got to this place where we were going to get dinner, the prices were very low!  For a large fried chicken and fries (Which was the largest amount of food I have eaten in my life), it only costed 10 dollars Belizian!  For thosse of you who don't know, that would change to 5 dollars American!  Finally, we went back to Hosanna house where they were going to have the closing songs and dances for us as well as a skit which we prepared for them!  They had some crazy dances for us and the skit we preformed is called Everything and this skit is done by lighthouse.  The web link to watch this video is:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFRYdGihOl4&feature=related  A lot of the girls up at Hossanna house are sick and we believe that it is from the water.  Please pray for those who are sick!  Lastly, some of our team members travel home today so please pray for them that they will be safe!

For the team, Mark! 
 
 
July 5, 2012

Today was an interesting, but very rewarding day!  We started off our day a little slow being that we had no water for over 24 hours.  You don’t  realize how hard it is having no water until you try to flush the toilet, wash breakfast dishes, take showers, brush your teeth. . . It was interesting to say the least.  Paul and Mark met some people to go see if they could get the water problem resolved.  They were gone for several hours, had to hike about one mile into the jungle to the waterfall where the water source starts.  On the way there, they met a man with gun who was looking for a jaguar, which was seen in the jungle.  After clearing a path through the shoulder-high jungle with a machete, they had to dig out a lot of sand which had infiltrated the system due to heavy rains.  They were successful and about 10:30 a.m. the water began flowing again at the guest house.  What a relief!  Everyone else continued to work on Bible school preparations, team devotions, hanging out with the Hosanna House girls, and there was a steady stream of people heading to the shower! 

Today was the last of our 4-day Bible School.  We hosted 2 Bible school programs, one at the chapel close to Hosanna House and one in the city of Dangriga, which is about a 25-minute drive from where we are staying.  The team at the chapel averaged about 25 children for the week and the Dangriga team averaged about 37.  Matthew and Lauren Phillippy taught the lessons this week where we highlighted the miracles of Jesus.  The children had a lot of fun as we performed dramas, sang songs, played fun games, and made crafts.  There were several children who never heard of Jesus and many who were very familiar with the miracles we were teaching.  We taught the salvation message on Wednesday and invited the children to make Jesus their savior.  Today was our last day with the children.  It was an emotional day for many of us saying goodbye to these kids with some of them asking when they would see us again.  All in all the teams felt VBS went very well and the kids had a lot of fun learning about Jesus.

We had to say goodbye to another friend this morning.  One of the Hosanna House girls, Abigail, left to return home.  She is actually an American girl who will be returning to Missouri to live with her cousin.  She is a very sweet girl who many of us had the pleasure of getting to know.  Please pray for Abigail as she makes the transition from Hosanna House back to the States. 

Our day ended with spending devotional time with the girls.  Bekah lead devotions on how Christ comforts us and is our best friend.  She used the illustration of a flower and how each petal may look the same, but up close, there are many differences, just like each of us.  God made us all individuals, but gave us talents to share to work as His team.  This is what we have experienced in Belize.  17 individuals came together to form a team to do God’s work in Belize.  Even though we are all different, God’s mission is being accomplished thru us as we lean on Him and allow Him to work through us. 

Thank you for uplifting us in your prayers as we are away.  We have several more days here and will spend much of our time with the girls from Hosanna House. 

Linda, for the team
 
 
To start, happy independence day! We are celebrating in a different sort of way here in Belize, since we could not get our firework supply past customs. We started our day by gathering together for a devotion since we did not have enough time to do our devotion last night. We had planned on leaving Hosanna House by around 8:30, but due to several team members taking too much time to shower and dry their hair (Deb), we were running a little late. We are glad that this happened though, and we know that God was working through this, becasue three local women travelled at least 30 miles to bring their hand made crafts for us to buy from them. If we had left at 8:30, we would have missed them and wouldnt have several gifts to bring back to our friends and family. So thank Deb that she takes a lot of time to get ready in the morning! :) After we finished buying some really cool gifts, we loaded our group of 17 into our 14 passenger van and went for a 25 minute drive to the Blue Hole national park. We first took a hike to a cave, where we were able to go into the cave and explore for a little. I personally would have not gone into the cave so willingly, but I was under the impression that we had to go through the cave in order to get to the water hole. The cave was extremely dark, slippery, and several bats were flying overhead throughout. Some of the boys (Matthew and Mark) enjoyed scaring several of the girls (Brittany, Jada, Bekah and myself) by yelling "Snake!" or "Skeleton!" every now and then. After that adventure, we drove to the Blue Hole, which is a beautiful water hole where we were able to swim. Almost everybody was able to go swimming, though some were not so thrilled about the idea of swimming in the middle of the jungle where there is the possibility of snakes and biting fish. We are all still alive and well, so no worries :) We are now back at our home eating lunch and preparing for our VBS which will be taking place in a couple of hourse. Keep us in your prayers, as we will be sharing the message of Jesus dying and rising again, which is the main message of our VBS this week. Thank you for your prayers as we are here this week!
 
 
Today's Excellent Adventure really began last night with thunder storms all night long and very little sleep (at least for Jason, Connor like his mother sleeps through anything).  Early in the morning Connor got up and found a really cool lizard (that he thinks looks like a baby aligator sort of) in a tree by Hosanna House.  After that it was the usual for Connor playing with his buddies Mikey and Rinaldo and some of the girls looking for bugs and other critters.  For dad it was clean up duty after breakfast and then painting with Doug, Don, PG, and Andrew.  I think Connor got the better of that deal.  After that we lost the water for some reason.  Connor was excited about the prospect of having to bathe in the river if the water didn't come back, alas, it came back and he was disappointed to not be bathing in the river.  Then it was VBS time.  Jason and Michael Phillipy went to round up some local kids and got caught in a common feature here quick and heavy rain that disappears as fast as it comes.  The kids were excited at the prospect of playing a version of duck, duck, goose, that involved water and squirting the other kids.  We had a good time and the kids seemed to enjoy the lessons about Jesus.  Then I decided to teach the kids some Army cadences on the walk back to their houses.  Along the way we saw some more snakes and other insects.  Connor is keeping track of all the exotic animals he sees and was disappointed to learn that he can't take any of them home with him.  So far our trip to Belize has been a truly excellent adventure.  It started with driving down a closed and blocked road on the way to the airport in order to make it to our flight on time.  So far we have seen the Mayan ruins, hiked in the rainforest, seen a lot of exotic animals (including a couple of tarantulas), made a lot of new friends, and have really enjoyed getting to know the people of Belize and teaching VBS.  Connor has been his usual excellent ambassador using his Yoda hat to break the ice.   Tomorrow the excellent adventure continues and we look forward to what God has in store for us and continuing to have fun and grow in the Lord... Until then we can't wait for more Adventures.  P.S. Happy Anniversary to my on Friday it will be our 10th, thanks for making this adventure possible babe, by allowing us to be out of the country on our anniversary.  I love you and can't wait to see you again.  Connor misses you and Dylan.  Tell Dylan I love him and we will see you both soon. 
 
 
Today we had the first day of VBS.  Jason and I (Michael) were in charge of walking down the street to find some children for VBS.  We were told it would be .2, and i repeat point two, miles down the road where we would run into a bridge and the we could come back.  Well, 1.2 miles later we ran into a bridge and then we began to head back.  We had no luck.  When we were about .2 miles from returning, we ran into a mom who came out to pick up the pamphlet that we had made up.  The mom said that her daughter would be one second and we said we could wait.  The mom told us that the girl loved Don and that she cried last year when Don left for the next 3 days.  The girl took like 15 minutes to get ready.  She wasn't too sure she wanted to come but we told her Don was there and then she was convinced to come.  As we continued to head back, we saw a bunch more kids heading down the road from the direction that we came from.  There were about 35 children at the Hosanna House VBS and 20 at Dangriga.  Both VBS' went very well.  Children learned the Bible verses very well and enjoyed the lessons, crafts and games.   We are really excited for the coming days of VBS.

Michael for the team
 
 
Our day started out getting up for breakfast, and then getting together in our VBS groups to practice the skits and talk about our plan for the day. We practiced the veggie tales song several times before we got it right. For about two hours, we spent time with the girls and boys at the Hosanna house playing basketball and volleyball. Although we are not the best volleyball players ever, we enjoy everyone’s company. After lunch, we started to prepare for VBS. Some of the members of our team and a girl from the Hosanna house went to Dangrigia, and some of us stayed at the Hosanna house. In Dangrigia, we drove around and invited children to go to the VBS. By the beginning of the VBS lessons, we had 21 kids sitting in the chairs in front of us. The children were shy at first, but opened up as the day went on. During VBS, we performed a skit, Lauren taught the kids about God’s miracles, the kids played games and made crafts, and they learned a new bible verse. At the end of the day, we asked the kids if they wanted to have their face painted. The boys and girls were jumping up for joy at this opportunity. As we were on our way out of the door, the children told us that they would see us tomorrow. I could tell that these kids were excited about something new. I could see the joy in their faces when we talked about Jesus’ love.  Around 6 pm, we arrived back at the Hosanna house just in time for dinner. After dinner, Pastor George invited us to discuss Isaiah 58. He asked us to ponder the question about what this verse says about people, God, and us. Many of the members of the team brought up several answers to these questions, and further questions to ask ourselves.

Around 7:30, we went over to the Hosanna house for devotion and games. Matthew gave a great devotion about rebellion and standing outside of the crowd. During our game, some of the girls from Hosanna house told us that they were leaving. When we asked them why they were leaving, they said that they were going home. The children at the Hosanna house did not know why they were going home at that moment. It was very sad for both us and the children. We have all become close to these girls who were going home. The scared faces of the girls made us concerned about what may happen to them. I just hope that they can go to a home that is safe and comfortable, and filled with people who love them. I pray that God will protect them and provide people who will show them His love and grace. This night has been very emotional for us.

I wish I could write more, but that would take hours. Hopefully we will be able to write some more soon. Thank you for your prayers.

Jada, for the team.

 
 
As I write this at 10:19, most of the team has made their way to bed, some suffering from bug bites, all of us tired.  It is a much different scene then lthat of ast night when a loud and contested game of uno took place.  Today, one day prior to leading two different VBS programs, was to be a day of rest.  I think it wore most of out team out.  

 Our day started with most of the team traveling to Xunantunich to see the Mayan ruins.  It is an impresssive sight to see.  After lunch, we took a jungle hike.  On the hike we saw a coral snake and a tarantula.   Our guide opened up a few coconuts and many of us had coconut water.  It was good stuff.  We returned to the guest house  to a dinner prepared by Pastor George.  After dinner we went to a church service at the little church just down rthe hill from Hosanna House.  It was an an interesting service and I believe that our team doubled the number of people attending the service.  We had to bring our own chairs. 

That is a quick summary of our day.  Hopefully we will be able to write more tomorrow.

Doug, for the team
 
 
We are sorry that we have not been able to offer more posts,,,the internet has been slow or down for the past day.  This post was written on Saturday night. 

Hello from Hosanna House!  Today is our first full day here in Belize, while Don, Lisa, Brittany, Jason and Conner start to make their long journey here.  It was supposed to be a laid back kind of day for those already here....but I can't say that it was exactly "laid back", but it was day of great fun!

After finally getting a full night's sleep, most of us woke up feeling refreshed to start our "day 1" of being here.  Some are still not acclimated to the 2 hour time difference and woke up VERY early, but even those people made good use of their time by reading and drinking coffee (can you guess who that was???)  Plans can and will change without notice regularly here in Belize,  but the key word here is "flexibility".  The original plan was to hang out this morning and then go swimming in the river this afternoon with the girls.  Plans had to be changed -- but it was a fun- filled day getting reaquainted with friends we knew from last year, and getting to know a lot of new girls that have started living here in the past year.  After breakfast Doug, Linda and Deb tackled cleaning the girl's room here in our apartment because, well, let's just say, it needed some attention.  Lauren, Bekah and Jada taught some of the girls new dances -- the Cha Cha Slide, the Macarana, Cotton Eye Joe and the Hokey Pokey.  The Hosanna House girls also taught our girls some new dances and songs as well.  Michael, Matthew and Mark could be found on the court playing basketball with some of the boys (and a girl or two) and Andrew took to the "soccer field" (the yard) with a number of the girls and boys.  When the younger children woke up from naps, they got to come out and all of us became human jungle gyms!  Kids could be found on many of our hips, and some of them could be found on our backs and necks.  These children here are just like children everywhere - they just want to be loved and love to have fun.  Most of them love to have their pictures taken and looking at themselves on the digital screen (still have some that are a bit camera shy, but I am determined to get their pictures by weeks end!) and what they love even more is taking our cameras and taking pictures.  This is my third summer coming to Hosanna House and I can truly say that I love these children.  If playing is hard work, then you can imagine how exhausted we are.  It's been a  wonderful first full day here in Belize.  

The Heavner's (and Brittany) and the Duncan's arrived safely to us around supper time.  Details of their exciting travel adventure will be, hopefully, in the next post.  It's exciting to have us all together now!  Oh, and for those of you wondering about the weather.....well, let's put it this way -- from the sounds of the wild weather you are having back, home and the heat, we are in a much better place!  
Deb for the team

 
 
Acts 17:31 (NIV)
31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."

Day one has been a long one.  Many of us did not go to bed last night.  We met at the church at 1:30 a.m. and flew out of Regan National Airport arriving in Belize shortly after 3:30 this afternoon.  The flights went well and we made our usual stop at Cheers for lunch.  We stopped at several road-side stands to pick up some locally grown fruit including one of our favorites - pineapples. 
It was good to be reunited with our friends from Hosanna House.  There are many new faces as well as many famliar ones.  It took a while for some of those old friends to warm up to us, but a fun game of heads-up, seven-up seemed to to the trick.  The people at Hosanna House have become dear to our hearts and those who are making the trip for the first time quickly made new friends.  Michael reminded us tonight during team time how important it is for us to be sharing the whole gospel message with these kids, including what God has saved us from .

Please pray for the rest of our team -  Don and Lisa Heavner, Brittany Evans, and Jason and Conner Duncan as they are about to make the same journey that we did today.  We had to bring the team down in two stages because we are limited by the 14-passanger van that we travel in.  Our team consists of 17 people.  In addition to the five mentioned above, Linda and Bekah Shearer, Andrew Wyman, George Traub, Paul Bittner, Jada Vance, and Doug, Deb, Michael, Lauren, Matthew, and Mark Phillippy.

 
 
Tonight the group gathered at the Phillippy's house and discussed what we will be doing in Belize.  Several topics were talked about, including the goals of the trip, responsibilites in Belize, as well as, what kind of VBS program we will run once down there.  Thanks for all your prayers!
~Belize Team
 

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    Hope Grace Brethren has already taken 2 trips to Belize, and have a third trip planned from June 29- July 8.  Please check every once in a while to see how God is using the team, important dates/ fundraisers and also for prayer requests.
    Thank you very much!
    ~Belize Team~

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