Every 4 years the youth group from St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham, North Carolina travel to Belize for a mission trip. Many have grown up hearing the stories from the annual adults mission trip in February. So this trip is their chance to see it for themselves. For many, the trip is unforgettable.
This year’s Belize mission trip coincided with exam week at Holy Cross. So the youth from St Luke’s helped our teachers give the exams. As a bonus they enjoyed getting to know our students in the hours between exams.
The Mission Team also continued the job of painting the school library. This was no easy task as the 8,000 or so books had to be kept carefully in order.
Another fun project was collecting student’s handprints for their mission banner.
At the end of the week the youth group enjoyed visiting the reef and the incredible Mayan ruins. They also wrote reflections. You can read them in full here, while a summary is reprinted below.
Mateo- At the school I realized that I didn’t need everything that I had and that I should appreciate all the excess things I have. I learned to embrace my talents and to have fun with what I do because that is what these people show.
Tomas- I think that this trip has been an amazing experience for me and everyone on it. It has definitely changed me and …. how I look at things. Coming into this trip I still thought “why do we still come here”, but as soon as I got here I knew there was still much to be done. The people here are kind and welcoming and even though living in poverty they keep up a healthy happy life style and keep everything on the positive side.
Michael- Belize was a wonderful experience and more than just a simple vacation. Despite being able to explore the beauty of the reefs, and the majesty of the Mayan city of Lamanai, I find myself most impacted by the work at Holy Cross. The school system in Belize is significantly underfunded, yet despite this, many of the students and teachers approached their work with a passion that is hard to find anywhere. I hope and pray that I at least had half the impact on the children at Holy Cross as they did on me…
Elena- This week was eye opening… I had never seen such complete poverty, and I had never seen such happy welcoming people… It showed me how I don’t need everything in order to be happy. .. I will never be able to truly articulate the way in which these people, who have so little, and yet seem to be happier than anyone I’ve met.
Charlie- In all the work we did in Belize it is the best work I have ever done… I am so lucky that I got to get close with these kids because even though by our standards they are poor they can still find happiness. The Belize project is a project I would want to do 1000 times over and over again.
Shawn- For me the biggest impact comes from actually being here, in San Mateo, with this group of youth. To experience the setting of the school, to see it with my own eyes, is to connect with what others from St. Luke’s have experienced. Meeting the community that has formed around the school gives life and meaning to the stories told of past mission trips. Hearing the gratitude expressed by that community, helps me understand the importance of our continued support and connection to Holy Cross. The buildings may be built, but there is still a need for more classrooms with teachers. Students we have helped may have graduated, but more follow them. What is true for Holy Cross, is true for St. Luke’s. The work is never truly done.
Sally- For 25 years I’ve been an educator and administrator in various schools… Until this week, I’ve never seen a school operate primarily on faith and service. .. . Mr. Rodney, the principal, told me that all the principals he had met from America had many degrees and licenses. But he was selected at age 24 to be a principal because he showed leadership as a teacher. … To be able to see our St. Luke’s youth faithfully serve in hot and culturally surprising conditions was a lesson I could not learn from any graduate course or educator preparation program, and it was profound beyond words.
Anna- This was my third trip to Belize, to San Pedro, and to Holy Cross School. Each time has brought me a different experience, different feelings and new passions. I love coming here. I love that I have made life long friends here. It is a place that I want to continue to fight for and continue to share with others. … I see us making a difference and I want to continue to make a difference. I love these people and there is power in love.
Holy Cross Needs Belize Mission Teams!
Are you looking for a Belize mission project, or know a church looking for a project for an adult or youth mission trip? We need your help! We have a lot of projects do this this summer and would be grateful if you could lend a hand. Click here to find out more!