Belize Mission Team July 20-27, 2014 by Ella Frazier
Our team consisted of 16 folks from southwest VA and northeast TN ranging in age from 17 to “retirement.” The planning began in January, 2014, with monthly meetings primarily at FBC of Weber City and lead by Larry Browder. The focus of the trip was VBS and revival in Crooked Tree Village with a theme of “Living the Christian Life” for revival and “Full Armor of God” for the VBS. During the meetings, classes and rotations were assigned and communication of the locals’ roles during VBS were outlined. Note: my assignment was crafts and teaching the women’s class- first rule of mission trips, be flexible…..
Sunday, July 20- we landed midday in Belize City. Larry was concerned about our 3 cases of craft supplies (primarily craft foam) getting through customs. God had His hand on this and the cases went through without incident. Estuardo helped us load the bus and we were on our way. While on the highway, we pass through a police checkpoint and the officer informed us we had a rear flat on the driver’s side interior tire. I am getting excited because I have been on mission trips to Gulfport and we dealt with flats on those trips and saw God move in mighty ways. Excited about flats? Yes! The enemy is attacking because the limited information he has is that we are ready for evangelism and he is trying to discourage us. He does not have the ability to know the future, but he knows how to throw those fiery darts of doubt into our shields of faith. Frank Waldo was on his way to our destination. Frank has always been my “Barnabas”-whether he knew it or not-so I found strength in his arrival and in meeting Phyllis Reed. We enjoyed a wonderful evening at Bird’s Eye View Lodge, hearing the story of how “Crooked Tree got its name.” What followed was a delicious Belizean meal and fellowship bagging rice and beans. Frank held devotions for the night.
Monday, July 21- After breakfast, the team, along with Dave and Verna Almen, ventured to Crooked Tree Baptist to assess the space we would have to work with for VBS. While waiting for the gate to be opened, some folks navigated through the barbed wire fence. Kim Sweat received a large scratch on her leg- in the shape of a J as she crawled through and she would later testify that she was wounded for Jesus. In the VBS survey, we realize there is not a class formed for kids 7-9 years old. I had been planning my lessons to teach the women’s class, but God spoke to me to teach that class- my co-teacher with the women’s class, Kim Sweat, agreed to teach the women by herself. So what ensued was the formation of a new class with Kristen Trese as the leader and me as their Bible study teacher (flexible!). The men were building relationships with church leaders and Jeremy Ketron bonded with the kids teaching them worship songs, while the VBS planning was in progress. Larry called for us to proclaim our spots and we agreed to prayer walk the spaces. I am a great believer in the prayer walk and the power found in it. We walked 3 laps around the perimeter and prayed for the work of the Holy Spirit to be revealed to us. That night began revival with Jeremy leading worship and my husband Billy preaching. It was such a blessing to connect with the local folks in worship.
Tuesday, July 22- Frank and Phyllis were preparing to depart as I was waiting for the manager to get me a tarp for the VBS PreK children to sit on. I was dreading their leaving because I was fearful and wanted to draw strength from them. Frank encouraged me with these words, “God has His hand on you; you have a sweet spirit for people.” VBS begins. Kim Trese and I were working on crafts preparation and realized that yarn could not be located. As she put it, “I hope the devil hangs himself with it.” Kim had brought rolls of fabric and we got to cutting ribbons from them to piece the armor together. Our craft area was a dual room; it was also my Bible study area. Kristen brought the 29 kids to the room and I was amazed at the large number, because the day before this class did not exist. We shared the gospel with a ”memory cross” tract and prayed with several children. Before the morning was over, Billy spoke to each child Kim and I prayed with and determined 6 professions at that time were genuine. Rejoicing in Heaven! There was a total of 88 children in attendance that day. As we departed from an amazing closing rally led by Jeremy, we shared our class experiences.
The staff at the Lodge prepared another fine supper meal for us and as we were finishing, a monsoonal-type storm blew in on us in the outside dining area. The rains poured heavily for an hour after that, so the decision was made to cancel revival at the church that nite. We shared the experience of the day and satan tried to throw darts of doubt to some teachers, so we were led to change the spaces around to remove distractions. Billy Frazier led the devotions that nite.
Wednesday, July 23- Day 2 of VBS. We moved classes around and Jerry McMurray had the teen boys moved to a space under a big tree near the gate. At the end of their Bible study, 10 young men responded to the Gospel and they were walked to a tree on the back side of the church where some men prayed with them to receive Christ. A victory for the kingdom accomplished by removing distractions so the Spirit can move. Satan lost this one and a teacher’s faith was strengthened! 91 in attendance. That evening, we attended a Spirit-filled revival service and built more relationships with the locals. Then we got ready to leave and the bus would not start. Ok, so I am getting excited again because satan is mad at us and we know we are not quitting the work we were sent there to do. We were shuttled back to the lodge in a couple of vehicles and Chuck Trese led devotions that crystal clear nite. It was an amazing experience sharing the feelings of the salvation of those young men. What a celebration in Heaven!
Thursday, July 24- last day of VBS. 101 in attendance! Today is the day of salvation! The last day can be a solemn occasion, but the work is not done yet. Prior to class, I had made homemade response cards. In our class, I taught the last 2 pcs of armor and brought out the heavy artillery-an Evangecube®. It was moving to see each little hand touch the pictures on the cube as I moved about in a circle of 33 children. 18 responses to readiness to receive Christ (and 2? children wanting more information responses) marked on the cards. I called on Kristen and sent the children with her to lead them to the Lord. She took them to the same tree behind the church as a few looked on through the window. I took the remaining children to snacks and in a few minutes a joyful “conga line” led by Kristen come from around the church building singing praises. Kristen emotionally told me that all 20 received Christ! After her Work there was done, she proceeded to plan the recreation for the remainder of the day. It was a blessing to see all those children playing in their “helmets of salvation” made from foam visors and foam strips. Gift bags were prepared and distributed for those attending. A Spirit-filled day indeed.
We shuttled back to the lodge, while Estuardo and Mike had taken the bus to be repaired. We enjoyed lunch, while some of us were trying to absorb the day. Some of the men met 2 of the young men saved on Wednesday at the lagoon and baptized them. The staff fixed another delicious supper and we shared with another group from PA who were doing VBS at a neighboring church in the village. I led devotions that nite to conclude this very special day.
Friday, July 25- With heavy hearts, we departed the lodge and headed on an exchanged B and S bus to Lamanai. It was a beautiful day to take in the history of the Maya in Belize. At the conclusion of the day trip, we headed to Roaring Crook, stopping at Cheers to eat. We settled into our rooms at Body and Soul when the rains came down hard. David Stokes led devotions that nite.
Saturday, July 26- we headed out and picked up the Reyes’ sisters and enjoyed lunch at a restaurant and grill. Travis Beasley won “the challenge” by eating his humongous burger in a set time-he got a free meal. We then headed to Spanish Lookout for more fellowship time together. That nite, we all attended worship at Spanish Road church. It was a Spirit-filled service with folks going to the altar to pray even before the service started. Larry Browder preached the message with Jessica Reyes translating. Jeremy Ketron held devotions that nite.
Sunday, July 27- 13 of us departed Body and Soul, with heavy hearts, but a flame burning in them, too. A week resulting in a total of 38 salvations from VBS and revival. Jeremy led a young man to the Lord outside the back door of the church one night, too! Our flight was delayed due to storms in Charlotte, but that gave us more time together. Then our TriCities flight was delayed because of storms, too. We spent the time making connections with folks in the airport and praying for a young woman who had waited for hours for a flight. She got a seat on ours! God is so good!
Crooked Tree Belize 2014
God had greatly blessed me as I went on my first mission trip to Roaring Creek, Belize, in December of 2013. I knew when I got on the plane to come home that God would take me back there, I just did not realize how quickly He planned to do that. In late January, 2014, I got an email about the VBS trip in July of this year, from someone I did not know. After reading it I told God , if You want me there You will make it known to me. A few days later that same email was forwarded to me from my friends, saying you might be interested in this. So I said, God I am listening. A week or so later after the first meeting, I received a text message which said, your deposit on your plane ticket has been made. So it was then I knew God had plans for me in Belize again.
Every month until July our team met to make our plans. We had teachers and helpers in place, had craft supplies ordered, plans were being made. Originally, I was to be the assistant to Ella Frazier as she was going to teach the adult women and women with babies. Once arriving at Crooked Tree Baptist Church on Monday, July 21, 2014 , we realized we were one teacher short. We had left out an entire age group. One of our young people, Kristin Trese, stepped up to teach the 7-10 year olds. Ella felt led to help between Kristin’s group and the pre-school group, being taught by Ella’s daughter, Kenzie. Both groups, large in number, were going to be in the same building. So Ella asked me if I felt I could teach the ladies group. God did not allow me time to think, because He knew the devil would infiltrate my mind to say I could not do it. So God had His plan that I teach for the first time.
We had 3 blessed days at VBS. I think 88 on the first day, 95 on the second day and 101 on the final day. Out of those 101, 38 gave their lives to Christ that week. Revival was held Monday through Thursday nights with Pastor Billy Frazier ministering the Word. It has been a long time, too long, that I have seen a full church with people standing in the back, and, at times, I saw people just standing outside listening.
The ladies and I had such a great time together. We always started with our theme, "The Full Armor of God", but God would point us in other directions in His Word. We studied some on the Fruit of the Spirit, the Beatitudes, and went to Psalms several times. I got to share a lot of my testimony of what God has done for me.
And something special for me happened on that Monday when we first arrived at the church. The gate was locked and little by little our team members began slipping through the barbed wire fence inside the church property. As I went to do this, and Travis was holding the barbed wire up, the devil tripped me into that fence. As I climbed through and looked down at my leg, I was shocked, I had a huge cut on my lower calf. Of course, everyone was concerned it would get infected, but I tended it the entire week. It healed well, but has left a scar, almost in the shape of a ‘J’. So I now have a testimony about this scar on my leg, which I always say that is my Jesus scar.
What a blessed week we had. The devil tried to stop us. but God again prevailed in another victory -38 victories to be exact. Praise Him everyday. I thank God for allowing me this wonderful privilege of meeting and ministering to the wonderful people in Belize. I thank Him for His team He brought together and the wonderful new friends, brothers, and sisters I have in my life. As I again got on the plane to come home, no sadness, because I know God will send me back yet again. In His time.
Kim Sweat, 2014 Team Member