Just last week, I spent the week serving an orphanage alongside of 16 others (including our missionaries) in Belize. It truly was a life-changing trip. We worked with and through an organization called Praying Pelican Missions (PPM) based out of Minneapolis, MN. Over the years I have been on about 18 different mission trips in many different states, and 6 different countries. I’ve worked with many different mission organizations, most of which have been fantastic. With that said, I’m thankful to the Lord for the leadership and work of PPM. PPM is less than 15 years old and was started in just two communities in the country of Belize. They’re vision is to “further the kingdom of God and our Lord Jesus Christ by providing missions experiences for people with a heart to serve others for His glory.” Click here for more information about PPM and their history. The reason I will continue to use PPM is because they live out to their vision; it’s not just meaningless words. I’m thankful we have interdenominational mission agencies that take the stance that PPM does, because it helps bring the church together. We see this in Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” Another main reason that PPM will continue to get our support is because they have done the best at partnering our church with the ministries and people where we are serving. The people who have coordinated our trips, Andy Bost (who was also one of our missionaries in 2014) and Nicole Seymour helped connect us with great people and those people with great churches. Their organizational and communicational skills were/are superb, but PPM’s ability to partner groups with churches, pastors, missionaries, and organizations oversees is what it’s all about. It’s not just a weeklong trip, but it’s a partnership together for the glory of God.
PPM has helped me fall in love with the country of Belize. I did not know until recently that PPM began their ministry in Belize, but I can see why. Why is Belize a target for missions for me (and others at Mount Pleasant)? First, Belize is a target because of the people. Yes, Belize is highly Roman Catholic and Protestant, but there are still a lot of people in Belize who need the Lord. The people in Belize are welcoming, warm, and somewhat eager to hear the gospel. Secondly, most people think of Belize as a vacation spot where cruises go (Caye Caulker), but a lot of the country is extremely poor. Minimum wage is less than $2/hour, and that’s for those who have jobs. Going through the villages, talking with the impoverished families cannot help but burn in your heart that they must hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thirdly, we have partnered with some of the best people, pastors, and churches in Belize. This year we had the blessing of serving alongside Herman and Marion Blease, missionaries that PPM provided for us. Herman and Marion serve at a Nazarene church in Belize and their heart for the lost, leading in worship, and leading in Student Ministry is simply amazing. All of us feel we have built a lifelong friendship and partnership in the gospel. We know the work is never done in Belize, but we also know with Herman and Marion are continuing the Lord’s work daily. We have also been able to work alongside of Belmopan Baptist Church and Roaring Creek Nazarene Church seeing pastors from both churches who are well connected in their community and love to meet people where they are and point them to Jesus. Between Herman and Marion, Jeniecia (Belize missionary in 2014), and the pastors and churches we have partnered with, Americans can learn a lot from the believers serving in Belize.
Both trips to Belize we have worked with Kings Children’s Home. Why? First we see in James 1:27 the direct command “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the father is this: ‘to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world’.” Working in an orphanage, building relationships with kids who do not have active parents is not easy work. With that said, there is nothing more rewarding than the moment these kids start to open up about their lives, stories, and testimonies that they’ve been through. I remember the last day sitting a table with one of team members (Monica), when a boy probably around 10 years old started opening up about how his mom left him in a hotel because she was a drunk and drug addict. These kids need to know there is hope found not in their circumstances, but rather in our Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, we choose Kings Children’s Home because of its leadership. Mama Leonie was the founder of Kings and continues to lead it. Sitting down and spending 30 minutes talking with Mama Leonie you can hear her heart for the Lord and every kid in the home. She has a heart of gold. Not only that, her leadership and love towards the kids helps me to understand how I can lead and love my own children better. When Mama speaks, the kids listen. The kids love and respect Mama Leonie, which she has earned. Why Kings Children’s Home? Lastly, because I believe we’re not done yet. The Lord has pressed it on my heart and many (if not all) of the rest our team that our work isn’t done. We desire to continue to build a partnership with Kings Children’s Home and Mama Leonie moving forward. It’s one thing to go and spend a week at the home, but it’s another thing to partner with them moving forward. We don’t want to be a group that comes in and leaves and it was just a weeklong trip. We are unsure what that partnership looks like in the future, but we desire for lasting impacts for the kids in the orphanage along with each team member that participates with us.
There is so much more that could be said about Praying Pelican Missions, the country of Belize, and Kings Children’s Home. A part of my heart will always be there, now it’s time for me to pray how me being here in the states can help impact those back at Kings until I go back.