KACI'S BELIZE JOURNAL:
Monday 7/30/07 11:45am
Father God, thank You for this team, thank You for our prayer partners at home and around the world. Father please use us and mold us this week. Let us to remember that we are not here for any reason other than You brought us here to join You in Your work. Change me Father; make me into what You already see me to be, Lord. I praise You now Father, knowing that You will do great things this week, here and at home. I pray this in the name of Your precious Son, Amen.
Monday 7/30/07 11:08pm – Belize time
The rain just came again. It was soft and sweet, like whispers on the wind. It came and went just as quickly and quietly. It was cool and refreshing.
The roads aren't as bad as I had imagined. Pastor Dan said they had them worked on. It isn't as hot yet as I had expected either.
There is a curious little bird outside the window, letting out his happy little call. He calls out often enough to remind us of his presence, but it is too dark to catch a glimpse. The crickets and locusts sing their gentle lullaby, reminding us that it is time to call an end to our busy day – time to lie down our heads and praise Him with our last prayer of the day. Seeking respite in His grace and praising Him for his mercy and the gift of this beautiful place and the beautiful experience to come.
Tuesday 7/31/07 12:02am
The beauty of this place is unimaginable, but it is dimmed in my mind by the pain that these children live with on a daily basis. Lives filled with agonies that we can hardly fathom and they believe them to be a normal part of life. These girls come from different parts of the country but the Lord brought them together this week and I pray that He moves in our presence this week and changes us all. Tonight, Alma told me she is thankful that I am sleeping beside her. She has had such a hard life, and for once, she feels safe. I explained to her the limitless ways that God can use her if she will allow Him to.
Nothing could have prepared me for the awe inspiring ways God is already moving here. Nothing could have prepared me for the emotions you feel in a situation such as this. Nothing could have prepared me to fully experience the Lord in such a real, magnificent way!
Two other boys got saved today! Praise, praise the Lord in all of His awe and splendor! Praise Him for the things He is doing here.
Wednesday 8/1/07 12:01 am
Earlier this afternoon, I got to go to the river with the kids. It was neat, a cool retreat from the heat of the day. Time to play with the kids, time to watch the walls come down that so carefully guard their hearts, time to bond. We played in the water, jumped off of the cliff, and jumped off of the rope swing. The irony of it all was Jeff hurt himself. Jeff, who was worried that he would have problems with his heart, hurt his foot. He swung off of the rope swing into shallow water and hurt his ankle. He says he is not going to go home, he says he refuses to allow Satan the chance to make him give up.
Tomorrow is our last full day together; I don't want to see this end. Alma and I have developed such a strong bond. Tonight she asked me why I couldn't have been her mother. (Hers abandoned her when she was small.) I joked that I was too young but assured her that I will never stop praying for her and that I will keep in touch. She fell asleep with a smile on her face.
Thursday 8/2/07 7:18pm
Thursday 8/2/07 12:21am
Breakfast, like every meal here was positively delicious. Eggs, beans, watermelon and FRIED JACKS! If you've never had a fried jack, you have no idea what you are missing out on. All the food here has been great, I'll probably go home 10 pounds heavier than I came, but I seriously doubt losing it will be a problem because the food at home just will never be the same after eating here.
Three of the girls in my group got saved this week, all honor, glory and praise goes to the Father! I thank Him so much for allowing me to be a part of this. Like I told the kids tonight, I will never forget them or this place. These kids have touched my heart and God has changed my heart forever!
Tonight we had a bonfire after a wonderful message! It was so moving. Bill had asked in the service for anyone who had gotten saved to stand and tell the group. Only one person did so, but she did with passion, she was not ashamed to profess her newfound faith. Then at the bonfire, Dan asked the same thing. When he did, there was silence for what seemed like eternity before one boy stood, hands in the air, declaring his salvation – presenting it as the grand victory that it is. After that, more kids stood, not just salvations, but declarations of rededication, challenges to the younger children, and requests for prayer. The presence of the Spirit could not be denied in that circle. If they walked away with nothing except the way the Spirit moved in that circle, I believe lives will still be forever changed. It was truly magnificent.
Friday 8/3/07 10:11pm
Then the campers packed their things and amidst smiles, tears, new friendships, new salvations and changed lives, boarded the vans and buses for home. Saying goodbye to my Alma was so bittersweet. She shook me gently awake at 5 this morning, weeping with joy over the realization of the things God is doing in her life. She sees her life now through new eyes and what a joy it is for me to be allowed to catch a glimpse of that. It pains me to see her go, but I am confident that the Lord will use her and that she will be in good hands with Paul and Alvera as her ministers.
When all of the Valley kids were on the bus, Shawn hollered at me, "let's go." It was time to take the kids home. As I boarded the blue and white bus, I was totally unprepared for what I was about to experience. I've seen all the pictures from last year, but unless you actually see this for yourself, feel what we've felt, you can never fully understand. I've lived with these kids for 3 days. I been allowed a peek into the window of their lives and glance at their souls – but nothing could have equipped me for this bus ride. I was filled with anticipation as we passed the sign reading "Valle de Paz," and with every home we stopped at, my heart sank. I was not saddened as much by the living conditions of my newfound brothers and sisters as I was by the way WE live our lives. The things we take for granted every single day. The blessings that we overlook, so easily dismissing the need for the Good News of a loving Savior in places like this all over the world. We drive our air conditioned cars to our air conditioned jobs and our air conditioned churches, while the men here walk or ride bicycles down rugged dirt roads, 9 miles each way to work in the fields. We go to the movies or rent a DVD. We spend $5 on designer coffee, when some of these kids depend on rain water to drink. Our children complain because the cable TV is out or they don't have the latest game for their xbox. Some of these kids don't even have shoes, yet they get off the bus and run smiling into a hut with a grass roof, thankful for what they have. As the last child stepped off that bus, the intensity of it all just smashed me in the face like the sudden rains here in Belize and I began weeping uncontrollably. As I sobbed, my team could only tell me they knew how I felt, that they still feel it from last year as if it were yesterday. Shawn stroked my hair as I wept. Once again, I was reminded of the day that God laid missions work on my heart. I am reminded that my mission field is where ever I am, not just far away places, but my country, my town, my neighborhood. Lost are everywhere and they need Christ just as badly.
Saturday 8/4/07 8:43am
I've spoken a few times of the showers that come without notice and leave just as quickly, but the thunderstorms, WOW, that's another creature entirely. I thought that Texas had the most beautiful thunderstorms, but you have not seen anything until you experience a thunderstorm in the jungle. "It's rain and thunder," you say, "How can it be that different?" I don't know if words can adequately describe it, but I'll give it a shot.
You hear the thunder, no different from home really. It resounds through the sky, a sentinel of the coming storm. Then, a sound I've never heard, like a thousand whispers on winged feet, running at you. It gets louder and louder, then suddenly the sky pours down a cool, pervasive rain. It doesn't start sprinkling and gradually get stronger like at home, no, when it comes, it comes full force. It doesn't ask pardon or permission, it simply overtakes. Its beautiful!