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Belize Updates July 14, 2016, Darby St. Onge, Henry Kohel, Grady Haltiwanger,

Henry Kohel
With heavy hearts, we headed into our last day of VBS. We knew this would be our last day of seeing the smiling faces of the adults and children of the Port Loyola Baptist Church. We all knew that the beginning of VBS meant the beginning of goodbye, and goodbye is always the hardest part of meeting someone new. 

The most memorable part of VBS was meeting all the amazing kids, but most specifically my buddy Arley. After all the good times we shared together, it was extra special today to find out that we shared the same birthday. Arley is someone who will forever be in my heart and someone I will never forget. After the last typical day of VBS, the inevitable occurred and we had to say goodbye to the kids that came to VBS.
    After we departed Port Loyola Baptist Church, we headed to the school to spend time with some of the same VBS kids but also some new faces to lead what is known as sports ministry. We were gearing up to say goodbye to a whole new group of kids. When the games and crafts were over at the school, me and Arley had to officially say goodbye for now, and did so by exchanging gifts.

As a last day of service wrapped up, my mind began to think about all of the different experiences I had this trip. Those experiences are ones I truly will never forget. While we thought we came here to serve them, we were ultimately served by them. 

Grady Haltiwanger
Final day of construction. We did it!  Upon arrival and looking at Brother Pitterson’s house I told my son that we would not be able to accomplish our goal because of the bad shape of his house.  With the grace of God and the will of our team, we were able to do even more.  Today we completed the house, built a bridge over a ditch, and repaired several other things that needed attention. The construction group allowed Adam and myself to drive the last two nails.  That was a wonderful feeling that I will never forget. I am so blessed to be a part of this group (family).  Sharing this experience with my son Adam has been so rewarding. He and I have grown so much.  Words can’t say enough about our experience, you have to see it for yourself.  Continue to pray for our group for the remainder of our trip.  


Darby St. Onge
When I think back to Monday, the first day of VBS, I think it was a year ago, but I also think it was 10 minutes ago. It has been an extremely long and draining week but it has blown by so fast as I try to grasp on to every single moment.

Now our story doesn't start with Monday, it starts with a month ago where Victoria Collins, Kevin Nunnery, and I would meet at the church and try our best to plan a wonderful VBS with what little information and experience we have. We would sit down and plan out as many details as we can for each day’s craft and story. While we did as much planning as we could, nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.

On Sunday night, we assigned positions for games, crafts, story and the skit. It seemed as if everything was starting to come together. As I struggled to fall asleep I started to think of the numerous things that were not planned and could go wrong, I was nervous for the day to come.

On Monday, I woke up with excitement and anxiety for the first day of VBS. When we got to the church, I frantically tried to make sure I checked off each box of things that had to be done prior to the beginning of VBS. At this point I knew that there would be multiple speed bumps that we were sure to forget, but I stopped and prayed at that moment that even through all the speed bumps, the children would have a wonderful day and learn a little about the love that God has for them. I would like to say that God answered that prayer. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely had some speed bumps and hardships, but the smiles on the children’s faces as they interacted with my peers was assurance that they were having a great time.

With a great start to Monday, I was extremely excited to see what the rest of the week had in store. As we went back each night we would set up for the next night, cut crafts and plan what songs and the order of both the opening ceremony and story time. Even though everyone was exhausted, they all would come and ask what they could do to help us prepared for the day to come.

On the Wednesday, we had to prepare for both Thursday and Friday’s craft - as we would leave the craft with the people of Port Loyola Baptist, for they will be running VBS on Friday. As one of many examples of the generosity of the people on our team, Mr. Hogue went up to Kevin and starting talking about the extremely long list of thing he had to do and was stressed over, he then said “but first, I have to cut leaves!” Almost every single person that night came up to me and asked what they could do to help prepare for the next day. I continue to be astounded by the care and love that our extremely wonderful team has put into VBS.

As we close up on our final day of VBS, I continue to think about how difficult this task was going to be and how much anxiety and stress I had at the beginning. I think about how far I came to be able to smoothly go through out the day without having each and every single thing planned for VBS. I truly believe that we have made a difference in lives of these children through smiles, laughter and love. As we went through each lesson for the week with kids, the last one has stuck with me. We are all in God’s family. Each one of us are included in God’s family whether we live in Belize, South Carolina, or anywhere else, God loves and forgives because each and everyone of us are in his family. 

Last Published: July 21, 2016 10:15 AM