We are home!


Belize – Day 10 (Wednesday)

Heading home !

We had a great day at the beach yesterday with the whole Pop family.  After lunch at a restaurant with a beach view, we played soccer and really just enjoyed our last day together.  In the evening, Lazarus and Alicia shared some of their testimony and we had an opportunity to pray together.  This has been a fantastic trip, and all of your kids have been super!  It has been a pleasure and a privilege getting to know them and seeing them learn and grow!

This morning (Wednesday), we left the base and took a bus back to the airport.  On the way, we asked the students to answer two of the following questions:

  1. What was the highlight of this trip for me?
  2. What did I learn about God during my time in Belize
  3. Describe a person you met.

Their answers are below!!

Ryan: The highlight of this trip for me was learning to appreciate different cultures and spending time and helping different people around Belize. –JOANNAAAAAAAAAAA – she’s great and amazing and honestly this trip would not have been as spectacular without her. Her personality is a gift from God and I’m going to ask her to be my future kids godmother. We love you Joanna.

Samuel: Hello everyone this trip has been a great experience and memory that I will carry with me throughout my entire life. The highlight of this trip was definitely the school and children we helped, it was so much fun and I really liked the love and kindness they showed us as well as the happiness they each had with so little that they had.

Sarah: Going to Belize was such a touching experience that I’ll never forget. The highlight of it was being able to connect with the youth and helping at the preschool. The children were simply so sweet and we all bonded with them instantly which made saying goodbye very hard. Even though we knew them for a short period of time, it felt like we’ve known them for an eternity, especially Devon. He’s such an out-going, considerate, brave and nice kid. I enjoyed playing UNO on a daily basis and soccer with him. I’ll deeply miss Belize and everyone I had the opportunity to meet there. I hope to be able to come back someday.

Talitha: If I could say one thing it is that I HAVE to come back. God has really shown me a lot throughout this trip. I made so many new relationships with amazing people. I gained a lot of wisdom from God on this trip. I am just so sad I have to leave but so happy I can share these amazing experiences and stories with all of you!! I have never felt so loved by kids and youth. The work in Armenia, Belize has just begun. God is definitely moving and doing his work here. This trip was just unBELIZEable. J

Kiara: The highlight of the trip was for sure getting to meet the elementary students, Pre-K students and the youth of the Armenian church. Getting to help in class, learn the kids’ names and connecting with them. Also, getting to know the Pop family and spending time with them was VERY fun. On this mission trip, I learned that God has a plan for everyone on this earth during this life. A person I met was Jason Pop, Lazarus’s son. Jason is very kind he knows a lot about the jungle and about Belize.  He shared all about the gangs and crimes, it was very interesting.

Tiana: Due to the fact that I am currently dying of hunger and our plane will be arriving shortly, I will answer these questions briefly and to the point, unlike my previous responses. The highlight of my trip was getting to know the children at the school, as well as Jason, Julie, Duvon and Jaylen. All of these children were kind-hearted and loving. God has shown me a lot on this trip. For example, He showed me how to behave in a God-like manner, through the people and children I met in Armenia Belize. I instantly fell in love with this beautiful country and its humble and selfless peoples.

Chloé: Contrairement à la plupart de mes coéquipiers, « the highlight of my trip » n’était pas de visiter l’école Armenia mais plutôt l’après-midi que nous avons passé avec les jeunes du village. J’ai VRAIMENT aimé ça parce que j’ai pu communiquer avec des adolescents qui ont un mode de vie tellement différent du mien. Durant ce voyage, j’ai rencontré un petit garçon qui s’appelle Devon, il fait partie de la famille qui nous a accueillis. Il a 8 ans et il est le garçon le plus amicale que je connaisse. Il va sincèrement me manquer. Ce voyage m’a appris que mon identité est en Dieu et en lui seul. C’est tellement facile pour les jeunes de nos jours de trouver leurs identités dans les réseaux sociaux, leur réputation, leur popularité, etc. Toutes ces choses sont temporaires. Mais Dieu ne l’est pas et donc j’ai appris que mon identité est premièrement l’enfant de Dieu et l’héritière de son royaume, puis ensuite je suis Chloé Kimenyi.

Richard: The highlight of my trip was going to the Armenia government school and meeting the most wonderful and energetic kids ever. I especially loved meeting my new little buddies Richard, Antoni and Justin. Just being able to connect with them and listen to their stories of hardships really humbled me and made realize I have to stop under-appreciating things. During this trip I was also able to connect with God. Mr. Tracy brought with him a DVD series called ‘Not a fan’. In the series, a question was asked are you a fan or follower of Jesus Christ. A fan is someone who has a knowledge of God but is not committed, but a true follower has not only a knowledge of God they have an intimate real relationship with him. Before coming on this trip, I considered myself a follower but over the course of our trip I realized that I was at a cross road but after seeing how the people of Belize live and exploring and trying to find myself I am proud to say that I’m slowing beginning my transformation to becoming a truly devoted follower.

Joseph: The highlight of this trip for me was being with the kids from the school and youth group. I had so much fun playing with the kids and teaching them too. The little ones were so energetic all the time and they always wanted to play soccer. They were always smiling all the time and they were always happy with what they had. A person that I met on this trip was a young kid called Devon. He was the second youngest of the Pop family and spent most of the time with us. He liked playing all the time and he was very nice with us. Each time there was a bug, he was the one who killed it even though he was the youngest out of all of us. Devon is a wonderful big brother too and he is very responsible. Devon is like my younger brother after this trip.

PS We are on flight AA2652 arriving in Montreal at 11:19 PM!!!  See you soon!!!!

Belize Day 7 (Sunday) & Day 8 (Monday)

Below are the student comments from our activities that took place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning.  Monday afternoon we will be heading to a National Park called the Blue Hole.  On Tuesday, we will spend the day on the beach with the Pop family.  The next blog will be either Tuesday evening or on Wednesday, somewhere between Belize and Miami.  We will post our progress as well as our flight status.  The students are all doing very well, no health issues, they are all very engaged in the mission, and sharing and learning.  A really great group!

Chloe : Belize ne cessera jamais de me surprendre. Dimanche, nous sommes allés à l’église le matin et le soir. L’église que nous avons visité le matin, « Living Waters Church » était très jolie ! Les ornements dans l’église étaient complètement différents de celles qu’on retrouve au Canada. De plus, le pasteur qui a prêché était hilarant. Je pense sincèrement que nous avons tous été béni par sa prédication. Après cela, nous sommes allés au restaurent où nous avons dégusté un repas délicieux. Par la suite, nous avons escaladé « The Mayan Temple » et la vue était vraiment mais vraiment magnifique. Le soir, nous avons visité « The Armenian Church ». C’était très amusant ! Tout le monde dansait et la musique était très forte mais toutefois très bonne ! Bref, dimanche était une journée très mouvementée ! PS- Allo maman, papa et Inès, j’espère que vous allez bien ! J’ai hâte de vous revoir ! Que Dieu vous bénisse, je vous aime énormément.

Sarah : During the last few days of this trip, we’ve enjoyed bonding with the youth here. On Saturday, we spent most of the day together doing activities like playing soccer, leaf frog, UNO, Ratuki and many more. Then, on Sunday, we attended church in the morning and in the evening. The church is so lively and amazing, even though we didn’t understand most of the service since they spoke in Mopan, we still loved it. We also went to visit Xuanantanich (a Maya Temple) and the view was breath taking.

Talitha : Sunday, we spent the whole day out! We went to Roaring Creek (near Belmopan) and Xuanantanich (Mayan temple). The churches we visited were on fire for Christ. It was such a blessing to see such a passion for Christ. I had a lot of fun at the Mayan temple. It was insanely hot!!! We had to walk 2 miles to reach the temple and then we had to go up the temple. I can’t say it was easy but definitely fun & enjoyable!! J

Tiana : On Sunday, we attended a service in a gorgeous church. The sermon was marvelous. I loved pastor Frankie’s energy and spirit. During the entire service, I felt the Holy Spirit inside the church, rejoicing at the love and faith being delivered to us by the pastor. Not only was the church a delight, but the drive was also quite spectacular. I can’t get enough of the marvelous mountains overlooking picturesque lakes. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant on our way to a Mayan temple. The food was stupendously, scrumptiously, marvelously, fruitfully, wonderfully and audaciously wonderful.J (credits to Richard for all the awestriking adjectives). Once we finished eating a delicious meal, that consisted of chicken, rice and coleslaw, we headed towards the Mayan temple. To get there, we had to travel for a kilometer or two uphill. Jason and Devon, Lazarus and Alicia’s two sons, came along. Jason, who is 15, was very helpful in guiding us up to the temple, while Devon, age 8, made the trek fun by running up the very steep hills with me. We got to the top after half an hour. Because of how much I hate heights, I didn’t so much enjoy the experience, but everyone else loved it! Thank you to everyone for encouraging me to face my fear, and to just go up to the top of the temple, even though I was afraid. All I have to say, is that it is SO. HIGH. Though it was exhausting, we ended up having a great time. Sweating and breathing heavily, we headed back to the base to eat as fast as possible, so that we could go to the service nearby at the church where the youth meet. We sang a song in front of the congregation and shared some of our testimonies. Talitha spoke exceptionally well, I might add. She fit right in with the environment of the church. The service was incredible! Every 5 minutes, they would break into a worship song. The people were on fire for the Lord! We all loved it very much! It was a very packed and energetic day. Though we absolutely love it here, so much that some of us don’t want to leave, we’re missing home and waiting to tell everyone all about our incredulous trip!

P.S: Ryan asked that I speak on behalf of everyone in this paragraph!

P.P.S: I love you Mamma, Pappa, Louis and Timo, en ek mus julle! Ek kan nie vaag om vir julle te vertel vat gebeur het nie! Jammer vir my Afrikaans! Ek sal moet oefen vanhier ek terug kom.

Kiara: On Sunday, we went to church then visited the Mayan temples, our us couldn’t go on the ferry boat so we had to walk to the temple, it was a very challenging walk and it was hot. Finally, we arrived to the top and we had to climb the temple. The view was VERY BEAUTIFUL. I am getting used to the weather, barely sweating now, I miss the youth and Mr. Marc O. a lot. (I REALLY miss Grace, Leila, Vanessa…) As much as I want to see all you guys again, I don’t want to leave Belize. Send my love to the youth. See you soon. P.S. my luggage handle and 1 zipper broke (J)

Samuel: On Sunday, we went to church in the morning with a very amusing and funny pastor called pastor Frankie. Later we went to the Mayan temple and saw iguanas and monkeys. We then made our way back to the Armenian village to another church where it was mostly in Mayan.

Richard: On Monday morning, we did a jungle survival lesson with Lazarus Pop it was really fun getting to be in the center of our God’s great creation. On Sunday, we went to church and heard the sermon of a great and funny pastor. I learned a lot. For example, I learned we must be Christ carriers, and that when we decide to be exclusive followers of Christ many things come with that such as ridicule, but even with the ridicule we should hold on to faith and know that God will prevail. I also learned the meaning of having one rider. Having one rider means that only God should be the one guiding you in your journey of life. Hopefully I will be able to apply this in my everyday life. God bless you all.

Ryan: Sunday was a packed day but it was worth it. The morning church service was great and the pastor was great. The church is honestly in the middle of nowhere but it’s beautiful. We then took a fairly long trip to the Mayan temples and even the bus ride we could see paradise. The temples were something I’ve never seen before and the view from the top was amazing (you’ll see pictures, don’t worry). The church service in the evening in Armenia was absolutely unique and powerful and I’ve never felt that before. This trip is amazing and were all still enjoying the remainder of it. Love you all and miss you. See you soon. Love, Ryan.

Joseph: Today we went on a jungle survival with Lazarus and I learned so many survival tips. He taught us what plants are edible and what they did. We ate sugar cane, sour cane and even termites. The termites tasted like mints and weren’t as crunchy as I thought they were going to be. It was very fun to explore the jungle and we even got to use machetes. I feel like a survival expert now after our jungle trip.



Belize: Day 5 (Friday) & Day 6 (Saturday)

Friday (Day 5)

This morning was another great breakfast of waffles & fruit, papaya, cantaloupe and bananas.  We needed the energy as it was ‘work morning’ on the base.  The students spent the morning helping with some labour around the base, filling in the holes around the new septic tank, and putting gravel on the roadway.  It was heavy work, but it was very helpful to Lazarus to keep up with some of the jobs around the base.

After some sandwiches for lunch, we spent some time journaling, playing games and preparing for the youth rally.  We also spent some time in viewing two of the episodes of the video series ‘Fan or Follower’.

 Saturday (Day 6)

Saturday was the third annual youth rally with Emmanuel students!  This event was first introduced three years ago, and the youth from the church came to spend an awesome day of relay races, soccer, board games, face painting, beading, skits, songs and sharing.  We ate lunch together on the base, and everyone had an excellent day together!

We then spent some time catching up n journaling, as well as debriefing the youth rally event.  A long swim followed in the Sibune River, very refreshing!!!

A dinner consisted of shake & bake chicken with steamed vegetable and mashed potatoes, all the students have been eating well and enjoying all the food.

In the evening, we spent some time on our video series, as well as preparing for church tomorrow morning.

Below are some comments from the students, more again tomorrow.

A special shout out to Tiana’s dad, who is celebrating an important birthday today without his daughter!  Happy Birthday from Belize!


Student Comments

Samuel: Today we had a Youth Rally with most of the youth group members of the church we had been attending. There was a couple of new people I met, one of  them was called Carlos we hit it off well because of our common interests(soccer) and we were competitive during the activities which caused us to get closer. He had such a happy spirit even in the circumstances he lives in. We had a blessed time and hope to see him again in this trip.

Joseph: I realised during today’s Youth Rally that the kids really appreciate our effort to be with them. They were very glad that we spent our day with them even if it was just a few hours. They were happy with our gifts that we gave them and appreciated every little thing we did with them. I really liked how the children made the best out of everything and they were excited about our company with them.

Tiana: Today was a pretty relaxed day. We stayed at the base all day. A lot of the children and teens from the nearby church came over to the base to play cards, face paint, play outside and sing. We ended the day by bathing in one of the rivers close by.

P.S: Geluk met jou verjaarsdag Pappa!! Ek kan nie glooi daat jy 50 is nie!! Ek is baie spuit daat ek nie kan met jou vandag vees nie! Ek is luif vir jou, en ek hoep dat jy a lekker dag ge haat het! Ek is jaamer daat ek nie mooi skruif nie, maar ek hoep daat jy kan verstaan! Ek muus julle almal, en ek kan nie vag om julle veer te sien nie. Skruif aseblief truug om vir mie te se hoe julle doen, in afrikaans as julle kan, soe daat ek kan oefen !!

Kiara: So, I woke up at 5am because Mr.Tracy said that’s when the sunrise started and that he always watches it, I woke up at 5, went outside the room, he wasn’t there and it was pitch black outside. The sunset actually starts at around 5:20, besides all that it was very beautiful and peaceful. For the remainder of the day we played games with the youth and had a lot of fun. I miss you Priscilla!