On my return visit to Belize last month I had to ask myself, did I do any good on that DTS outreach 28 years ago? I remember whacking a lot of jungle bush with a machete (pronounced with a silent "e" like a French word), if we chopped at a tall bush, fire ants would fall down our backs and sting worse than a wasp. We swam in Roaring Creek where little fishes nibbled at our legs, we all thought they were baby piranhas, but I found out this time they are only sardines.
Robin and I visited Banana Bank the YWAM base in Roaring Creek near Belize's capital city Belmopan. Belize is located in Central America on the Caribbean, south of Mexico, east and nestled beside Guatemala. My DTS outreach missions trip to Belize with YWAM Salem was in 1984.
Santiago and Liliana Valencia, the directors of the YWAM base welcomed us and gave us a tour. I remembered the oxbow shape of the property that was all green jungle with a deep river winding around it, but this time we walked around neatly landscaped property, cement sidewalks and brightly painted houses built Belizean style--raised off the ground, no glass windows, only screens.
I walked to the original prayer chapel, the first and only structure on the base in 1984, it is now the DTS classroom and I tried to imagine all the inspiring words that must have been spoken and prayed inside this building over 28 years. The memory of these words are infused in the hearts of those who passed through. Were they transformed and motivated to "go into all the world?" and bring glory to God? I'd love to know, but I like to think so.
|The original prayer chapel is now a DTS classroom.|
This was the only building on site in 1984.
Lily introduced us to her two sons plus a few of the six boys that live with them. She explained to the boys who we were, and mentioned that I had helped cut bush at the very beginning. Then she said, "so you need to say 'thank-you' to her for the work she did." I was taken aback as I had not expected this, after all, I really hadn't contributed very much to the entire project.
The YWAM base runs regular Discipleship Training Schools but they also host mission teams from the USA. An organization called Wonder Voyage will arrange missions trips for churches and groups, Belize is one of the countries they work in.
So what good came from my doing a DTS outreach? What is happening with YWAM in Roaring Creek? These days there is a soccer Football Ministry with the boys that came over the bridge from the neighbouring Roaring Creek which is known to be a "dangerous community"--shootings are common--the soccer club offers a safe environment for teenage boys. The soccer players are now competing, winning and FIFA is taking notice of them. The boys benefit from learning how to play soccer in a safe environment, and they get good Christian teaching with discipleship classes.
Would this have happened even if I had not gone to Belize all those years ago? Absolutely, my contribution was not crucial, but I participated in something that God wanted to do there.
And maybe it's not about what good that I did on that outreach but maybe it was more about what good the outreach did for me. My time in Belize in 1984 instilled in me a desire to be involved with missionary outreach and a confidence that God wants me to be a part of what He is doing in my community and in other parts of the world. I learned about working together as part of a team with all kinds of people in an environment that wasn't exactly comfortable.
This outreach was a training time for me, a primer for the rest of my life. Like the water in Roaring Creek, I didn't stay long but I passed through. It's a part of my life and perhaps I was a little part of the life in this place.
I think Robin and I will return one day to Roaring Creek, perhaps for a summer of service. I heard that there is a mobile library travelling around Roaring Creek, Robin likes to coach soccer and well, the base has a big beautiful kitchen, I can always get busy baking cinnamon buns!