Belize Day 6- Can You Belize it’s Already Over

Today marks the last full day that the team will spend in Belize.

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Tyler and Deanna discover at breakfast that they are accidentally twinning

The team utilized the last day in the country to visit the Maya ruins and visit a local market in San Ignacio.

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The Market

The first stop of the day was a large market. Vendors sold everything from used clothes, fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade crafts, and food.

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The entrance to the market place

From there the team headed to the Mayan ruins to spend the afternoon in the sun.

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Pastor Kent is ready for a day of hiking. The sun never stood a chance

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The legend behind the “Stone Lady” name is that one time a hunter was on the grounds of the ruins. He heard a noise coming from one direction so he listened and aimed his gun in that direction. Then he heard something behind him. On the top of the ruins was a lady in white, dazzling in sunlight. So he went back to town to gather a crew. They returned to find the ghost lady. When they couldn’t find her they believed she disappeared into the stone and only appeared to some, hence the name “stone lady.”

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Xunantunich Maya Site

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View from the top of El Castillo

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While at the site the team saw monkeys and iguanas 

After hiking the ruins, the team stopped by some vendors to stop and look around.

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After returning from a day of excursions a few members set up a small clinic to test the eyes’ of the people who worked at the place where we are staying.

The evening ended with dinner and devotions. Deanna lead devotions tonight and shared an insightful message. She shared with us that even though this week has been amazing and we’ve experienced many highs, we still have work to do at home where God has placed us.

While today was more of a relaxing day spent learning more about the culture and sights of Belize, we didn’t forget why we came. We thank everyone who donated time, money, supplies, and prayed for our trip. This trip didn’t only impact the nearly 700 people whose vision we helped improve, but the lives of everyone on the trip as well. We have loved our time here, but can’t wait to see you all when we get back.

Hasta la próxima vez Belice!

 

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Belize Day 6- Closing the Clinic

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Father-daughter duo, Emma and Pastor Kent, finish eating breakfast and are ready to start the final day

Today was the final day of clinic.

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Eric tests a young woman

Our team packed up the flippers that had helped test nearly 700 pairs of eyes. They packed away left over glasses that weren’t used. The time at the clinic has closed to an end, but the impact from the day may last for a lifetime.

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Kent Pierce helps pair a woman with the right pair of glasses

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Glasses that are donated are tested for prescription, cleaned, sorted, and boxed by volunteers before they ever reach the country they are headed to

“Having the opportunity to serve so many people is something that I will carry with me for a long time,” said team member Tyler Kroenke.

“The people’s reaction when they could finally see was the best part of the trip,” Trenton Burns added.

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The view from the church steps

The team was sad to be done with clinic, but found some adventures when they  returned back to the cabins for the night.

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Carolyn, Emma, and Gretchen drink from a coconut that Emma found on site

Team leader Kevin Gambill summed up the trip well when he said “it was amazing to watch God work through us this week.”

For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve. -Mark 10:45

Belize Day 5- UnBELIZEable God “sight”ings!

Good evening folks, if you can’t tell already, our normal blogger/journalist is taking a break tonight which means you are stuck with my writing and incredible puns. On a serious note – as a team today we really did see some incredible moments from God that I am happy to share with you.

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Today we had a change of pace at our new location which was set in a different part of the San Ignacio area, and helped us to reach different community members who could not make it to our first location.

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Our new space was much smaller, but with a little teamwork and ingenuity we got the space to work as well (if not better) than our first location. Here we met even more community members who spoke mainly Spanish, which means some of us got to “brush up” on our Spanish skills. Some were better than others, while team member Tyler S. was able to have full conversations, Lydia had multiple slip-up’s of accidental foul language or complete misunderstandings – but that just comes with the territory of foreign language.

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An incredible insight given after the clinic during devotion time today was the way foreign language can be either a barrier or a bridge between two people. If you choose to let language keep you from making relationships with others, you may miss out on someone wonderful. It’s better to laugh over mispronunciation than to not laugh at all – laughter is universal. One woman today was so ecstatic to see for the first time in over twenty years, she exclaimed “Gracias! Gracias!”, with loud and happy laughter. This joy was easy to understand in any language.

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After a long day of working at the clinic, we had a unique moment between three special people. Tyler S. who has traveled to many countries for mission trips, and Tyler K. who is on his first mission trip, were able to meet their very first ever international Tyler. Another great example of how language, distance, or cultural boundaries can never stop you from making a friend through happiness and the joy of sharing the Gospel with others. Pictured above is Tyler S., Tyler K, and Lil’ Tyler.

 

Please continue to pray for our mission as tomorrow is our final day of clinics here in Belize. We are running low on lenses which is a good and bad problem to have. This means we have helped SO many people so far, but are now having trouble finding the right pair for each person. Pray that God continues to provide through our remaining pairs tomorrow.

Buenas Noches!

Belize Day 4- Serving Our Neighbor

Today started much like the previous ones, but brought a unique set of stories

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The view from one of the cabins in the morning

Today the team tested eyes, adjusted glasses, and diagnosed some eye diseases.

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Lorrie tests a patient’s eyes

Today towards the end of a clinic a woman came up to the church that we are serving at, which is located on the third floor of a commercial building. The woman explained that her husband had suffered a stroke and could not speak or get up the stairs, but needed glasses. So a few people from the team packed up a set of eye testers and went downstairs to test him. Then they ran back up stairs to find glasses that would work for him.

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Eric tests a woman’s eyes with the assistance of a translator

After the day at the clinic had ended and we arrived back at the hotel. I arrived to dinner a bit early. A woman had set up a table of handmade goods right outside of where we were eating that she was selling. She was working on making bracelets with the help of some reading glasses. Some members of the team said that the glasses looked familiar. I asked her if she had gotten the glasses at our clinic today. She said no, but that she had gotten them when the team came last year, and had been using them to make her crafts. Often times we will never know the end result of the work that we are doing, but today brought a unique perspective.

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Rachel works the nurses station

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Melissa points at a sign for eye testing

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A toucan landed right outside the window where the team was eating lunch

Tomorrow we are moving locations and are ready to serve a new area!

 

Belize Day 3- Practicing Spanish & Patience

Today began much like the previous. The team woke up to warm air and a serene Belize morning.

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Lydia and Emma sit in the hammock before breakfast

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Rachel and Lorrie are ready to start the day

Although we went to the same church for clinic and followed roughly the same schedule, the day was still unique. Today brought in a much heavier flow of Spanish speakers. A language barrier can be tough, but our team did a lot of brushing up on Spanish and showcasing patience as they tested people, paired them with glasses, and adjusted those glasses to fit them.

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Deanna tests a man for long distance

One of the most rewarding aspects to conducting an eyeglass clinic is the moment that you put the right pair of glasses on someone’s face and ask them if that makes it better and their eyes get wide, a smile stretches across their face, and they say “much better.”

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Tyler holds a baby while a woman gets her eyes tested

The evening ended with dinner and devotions. Emma Pierce also brought her ukulele and ended the night with beautiful music.

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Lydia, Carolyn, and Gretchen outside of their cabin

Belize Day 2- God’s Love Through the Lenses

After the team’s first night in the cabin, the team woke up to start their first day of eyeglass clinics.

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Gretchen and Emma are ready for the day!

Breakfast consisted of fried jacks, beans, eggs and fruit.

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Kevin, Lorrie, Kent and Eluia sit down for breakfast

After breakfast and devotions the team got on a bus and headed into town where we set up for the day. We set up our clinic inside a church in San Ignacio. Today we tested eyes and fitted over 140 people with eye glasses.

“My favorite part of the day was when a man came in to get glasses so that he can read his tiny Bible,” said Trenton Burns when reflecting on the day. Trenton was a part of the station who after the patients’ eyes were tested, pulled glasses with their prescriptions.

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Trenton tries on glasses with a +10.75 prescription

In the evening the team headed back to our cabins. Several members swam, some explored the area, and some relaxed before dinner. After a delicious dinner the team ended with a daily team meeting and retired to bed to rest up to do the same thing tomorrow.

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Tyler preforms a reading test

Belize Day 1- Arrival to Belize

Most of the team began their day while everyone was still asleep. Clad in fanny packs and backpacks the team left Saint Louis at 6 am. After a short detour in Atlanta, we arrived in Belize City, Belize around 11:30 am. The temperature leaving Missouri was in the mid forties. Stepping off of the plane in Belize City we were met with mid 70 degree temperatures. After collecting our luggage we got on a school bus where we were met with cool water and bananas.

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Lunch was a learning experience for how different cultures view time. In Belize, people focus less on the time on the clock and place more emphasis on getting things done when they get done. As a result our team spent around 2.5 hours at a restaurant waiting for food. Luckily, the view from this open air restaurant was beautiful.

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Food ranged from nachos, to fried tacos, to BBQ, to whole fried fish.

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After lunch we finished our bus ride to our cabins where we will be staying for the trip.

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The hammocks outside some of the cabins was a big hit.

hammockWe concluded our day with a delicious meal of fajitas, rice, and watermelon juice followed by an evening meeting and devotional time. Tomorrow we will start early on our first day of clinics!