Wednesday, June 6, 2018

June 2018

We worked with 119 students at the village of Sunday wood today. The little ones worked with abc's with ink dabblers and formed letters with  play dough we made prior to coming to Belize. It was so much fun! We read stories about Cat and Pup, and put on a little dramatic play, too. 

Shelly Roy

"In our STEM activities today the younger kids learned to make towers from staking apples and play dough. As they built, they used their problem solving skills to figure out that towers were more stable with a wider foundation. The older student built bridges from solo cups and popsicles sticks and had a competition to see which bridge could hold the most toys animals.  The oldest kids were given a few supplies and were challenged to make a catapult to fling a cotton ball, fruit loop, and a marble. From this lesson I learned that showing the kids a specific example limits their creativity to make the project. Next time I will simply explain what a catapult is so they can problem solve together to build one of their own."

Mackenzie Poelker

Sunday Wood

In San Lucas today, we worked on building a new school room.  We had a great day and got a lot of accomplished.  It rained most of the day and very hard at times so the whole crew was soaked but we didn't let that stop us!  The exterior siding is complete and we're ready to build windows and doors tomorrow.  We enjoyed working right alongside of the men of the  village and laughed a lot.

Bill Cloyd

In Otaxa today we gathered the entire school in the church to enjoy a sing a long. We talked about getting to know each other with songs like "Getting to know you" and "The more we are together the happier we'll be". We share songs of faith like "Big house" which talks about the many rooms God has waiting for us and praise songs like "Make a joyful noise to our God". The students loved hearing the guitar and enjoyed playing all the percussion instruments we shared with them. We also played music in Corazon in the classrooms in the afternoon. The students we so welcoming! 

Sharing our faith through music was awesome!

Judy Krenn

Today in Conhejo Creek, it was a day of art and religion!!  Faith spread across the rooms when the Standard I and II kiddos traced their hands onto a paper plate, colored it green and blue, and then wrote, "God created the earth and God created ME!".  It was so cute!!  Next, Standard III and IV learned about Jesus, and how He died on the cross to save us from our sins.  They cut out cardboard crosses and then glued cloths pins onto them, to form a crucifix.  While they were cutting, they also learned about The Holy Triduum.  Last, but not least, Standard V and VI began the class by praying the Our Father, and I said, "Wow, that was perfect,  because you're going to do an Our Father project!".  On index cards, each boy and girl received a word from the prayer and they were asked to draw and be creative with the word.  I'm telling you, there are some artists in that class!!  After they were finished, I taped the index cards to the wall, and on display is a beautiful artwork depicting Jesus' words that He gave us as a way to talk to God.  While they were drawing, I found out that two of the students had competed in a Religion Jeopardy and won!!  So I quizzed them and yep…they did great!!  Can't wait until we go back tomorrow!!  

Kathy and Mary

We were in Conhejo Creek today teaching art. In infant I and II we did weaving fish. The little kids loved making their colorful fish and having their pictures taken by us! Shannon's name was a hit in this classroom as they chanted "sheena" as she was leaving the classroom. In Standard I & II we painted pigs and did the pigs song. The kids thought the pig song was so funny, they even sang the song the whole time they painted their pigs- which was quite awhile! With the Standard III & IV we made fish cds! While coloring the CDs, one of the girls who was fascinated by my red nails (Taylor) colored her nails orange with a marker and said, "look miss, they're like yours miss," As I taught, I walked around with the example fish and made the fish give the kids "fish kisses." They thought the fish kisses were absolutely hilarious and started calling me "fish kiss miss." When the kids finished making their fish they came up and gave me lots of "fish kisses" of their own. With Standard V & VI we made CD radial designs! The older kids took awhile to get into the activities but were very interested in hearing about how different America is. The kids thought it was hilarious how we spoil our dogs and they were simply amazed that kicking a dog in America could get you arrested! They also thought it was funny that we are nineteen and we're not married yet. They said that most girls get married right at eighteen and have children soon after. 

Shanon and Taylor

On Sunday we attended Mass in Otoxha and then stuck around to watch the Grand Football Marathon fundraiser for St. Mark's School. We enjoyed watching teams from several communities compete while eating popped corn grown by close friends. After stopping in San Lucas to check out our construction project for the week , Bill's van drove to the Mayan ruins at Nim Li Punit and our van stopped at several villages visiting friends before  returning to Nazareth to prepare for Monday. We have been assigned the task of naming a friend's one-week old son! I suspect that our current list of 12 names will grow before we visit the family again on Friday. 

Monday was a very productive.   We delivered much-needed medication to health posts in Otoxha and Corazon Creek.  After months of planning, Tammy held workshops, teaching women how to make washable feminine pads.  The community centers in both Otoxha and Corazon Creek were packed!!  Judy played her guitar and sang with students. Manuel and I met with four widows who will be assisted by the Binny Fund, which will help provide them with food, clothing and other essentials.  Afterwards, Sarah and Maria, both in their eighties, assisted each other down a steep hill. They walk together on this journey. Fr. Vo joined us for dinner, shared stories about his experiences as a pastor of thirty-eight villages, presented our new volunteers with solidarity rings, and gave us a blessing.  I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Waking up to a sunny day at the beach in Placencia. Yesterday was overcast and a little cool, but considering the weather at home, we won't complain!

After a bus ride and a water taxi ride, we had a relaxing afternoon on the beach followed by a beautiful Mass. We shared thoughts about what brought each of us to Belize as we broke bread (a tortilla, how perfect!).

Today's plan is some kayaking, a lot of relaxing, dinner together and a sense of gratefulness to be sharing this experience with each other.


Friday is always a tough day as we say goodbye to our friends in the villages.

This was the first time we have worked in the village of Dolores. It is a beautiful village, VERY remote, literally at the end of the road. In the dry season there are times when the village has no water as the spring from the hillside dries up. Our construction project was the building of four spring boxes. A spring box is a ten foot by ten foot concrete block square (four feet tall). The spring water is piped into this box so there is a supply of water on hand for the dry season, kind of like a cistern. All the materials, concrete blocks, sand, etc, must be carried up the steep hillside by hand. Each day 50 or so men showed up to help with the project.

The people of Dolores are very grateful for our assistance and the funding of this project. On Friday, the entire village hosted a celebration as their way to say thank you. Kristen, Ann, Michelle, Ellen and Vernon were treated to singing, native dancing and a delicious meal. Gifts were presented for every team member (all 20 of us!) who had worked in the village during the week. Because every family wanted to participate, there were many extra gifts presented.

The rest of us, who weren't partying in Dolores, taught all day in San Lucas, Blue Creek and Otoxha.

We drove the principal from Otoxha, and her two children, back with us to the junction at the paved road (about a 90 minute trip). Of course we have to stop along the way to visit and shop. She needed to catch the bus at the junction. As we approached the cross road, she noticed that her bus had just passed by. So we took off after the bus! With Ann's fine driving skills, we caught up with the bus, waved it down and sent the principal on her way!

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Today, in addition to the teaching and construction projects, a group went to the Hope Center in Punta Gorda. Shelly, Rose, Angie and Don entertained 13 senior citizens. They played bingo (with prizes!), had snacks, and did the Hokey Pokey.
The highlight of the day was hitting balloons with flyswatters! The seniors loved it and one of them said, "This is really good exercise!"
Flyswatters will be added to our packing list 🙂

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


You probably heard that there was a strong earthquake off the coast of Honduras last night. We did not feel it!

There was a tsunami warning for this area, but no tsunami evolved.

We are high and dry, happy, safe and ready for another day!


Highlights of the day!

Derlene: learning about local plants as she walked through a garden with the principal on the way back from lunch. Being a part of a blessing over an elderly woman in Otoxha.
Cynthia: EVERYTHING!!!!
Angie: singing Christmas songs.
Don: watching students write letters to seminarians from Belize who are studying at Kenrick.
Kristen: going to lunch at Santiago's house, escorted by his daughter, Maria.
Shannon: recess time, children grabbing her hand and playing duck, duck, goose.
Rose: while singing "He's got the Whole World in his Hands", noticing a little girl just doing gymnastics in her seat, in a totally carefree way.
Ellen: women asking questions at the health talks.
Shelly: talking to a teacher about culture and what empowers women.
Colleen: the excitement about the shelter building project.
Jill: the heart anatomy lesson with Standard 5&6.
Michelle: giving out soccer and volleyballs, noticing how the kids only used them on the concrete so the balls would stay clean! Watching the kids wash the balls in the creek if they rolled into the mud.
Anita: seeing the big kids, and teachers, so excited about the solar robotics.

I've missed a few people, but as you can see, it's been a great day!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


It was a great first day in the schools.

In Otoxha Shannon and Jill presented lessons on the human body. They made edible heart diagrams, Q-tip skeletons, and listened to their heartbeats with stethoscopes.
Phil and Shilah had great fun making air balloon rockets.

The first spring box slab and first row of blocks are in place on one of the spring boxes. About 50 men from Dolores showed up to help with the project, so Vernon and Mike did a lot of "supervising."
Don and Rose read the children a book with letters children have written to Pope Frances. The children then made Pope Frances puppets. Another group made Miraculous Medals, which a few students promptly turned into Miraculous Frisbees! Cynthia and Angie did music activities and lots of active games with the students. It's a huge school, by Belize standards (169 kids), so fitting in all the activities is a challenge.

In Blue Creek Derlene and Shelly worked on Language activities. The preschoolers and Infant I/II classes loved using bingo dabbers to highlight letters. The older kids did great writing projects. Colleen and Anita had the STEM lessons. Stacking plastic apples, building shelters and constructing solar robots. The best part of the day in Blue Creek is enjoying lunch sitting on a rock with your feet in the cool clear water.

Crazy day in Corazon Creek. A brand new teacher was starting, and we found out the day before that the students had only a half day of school, so Ann, Kristen and Michelle had to squeeze the art lessons into the morning. They made butterflies and sock puppets. Anne and Ellen presented the women's health talks in the afternoon, while face painting was going on outside the community center.

Quite of the day: We stopped to gas up the van and a few of us ran into the store to pick up sodas and snacks. As we were paying with U.S. money, Derlene said, "I have Belize money, can you take that?"

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sunday Mass pictures

Sunday in Belize

We left the Retreat Center this morning for the LONG ride to Otoxha. The roads were in bad shape, but Father Don was saying Mass so they couldn't start without us! It was a lovely service with lots of music. After Mass, the recently retired principal, Mr. Manuel, presented each team member with hand woven bags (cuxtals). After Mass, we were invited to stay for lunch, but since we were expected at the next village for another Mass, so half of us stayed and the others went on to Dolores.

We enjoyed another beautiful Mass and got to meet the friendly people in Dolores. While we were there the construction team walked through the forest to the location for the new spring boxes.

We took the long way home, stopping at every village along the way to visit old friends and buy crafts! It was a VERY long and bumpy ride! The first van was about 40 minutes from home when we came across a school bus that was stuck in the mud and blocking the road. This meant we had to turn back and take the LONG LONG way back. All part of the adventure.

Quote of the day: While driving past a burned out field, someone asked what was planted there and was told BEANS. Jill didn't miss a beat and said BLACK BEANS. To which Father Don replied, REFRIED BEANS.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Safely in Belize

Just a quick post to let you know we've arrived safely in Belize, despite one travel delay, two forgotten bags and a misunderstanding about the departure time! We ALL are happy to be out of the cold weather.

We were woken up this morning by the sound of roosters (at 3 a.m.), Belizean roosters must have a different internal clock!

We are off to Mass in not one, but two villages, Otoxha and Dolores.

Discovered that the retreat center has put in WIFI, so look for another update soon.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The 10 Year Journey Continues!

It's hard to believe that the first All Saints Mission trip to Belize was 10 years ago this week!  

The January 2018 team is all packed (well, some of us will be packing at midnight!) and ready to meet up at the airport at 3:45 am!  The early morning takeoff sounds bad, but it actually is a bonus as it gets us into Belize in the early afternoon, with time to stop for a quick dinner before the five hour bus ride to Punta Gorda.  

Much like in the Midwest, Belize is experiencing a cold snap, it will only be in the 70s and low 80s this week.  Sorry, couldn't resist 😀

We will be teaching in our four usual "January" villages; Blue Creek, San Lucas, Corazon Creek and Otoxha.  In addition we will also be in the very remote village of Dolores.  Apparently it is a very short walk through the rain forest from Dolores into Guatemala.  We've been advised NOT to try this.  We've got math, STEM, language arts, music, science, health, and art lessons prepared for the children.   
The construction project will be building two concrete spring boxes to help improve the supply of fresh water in Dolores.  The construction team will have to get an earlier start each day as Dolores is a 2+ hour drive, down some of the bumpiest dirt roads in the entire country of Belize.
Several of the nurses on the team will be hosting talks with the women and girls in all five villages.  These "Girl Talks" have been very well received.

Watch here for updates while we are in Belize, internet access is sketchy, so don't be concerned if we cant post for a day or two.  Please pray for the safety of our team and the success of our mission as we work with our fiends (old and new!) in Belize.