The past few days have been so busy that we’ve had trouble keeping you updated on our Belizean adventure, but here is our attempt to keep you abreast with our wild excursion. The days have been hot and full, but definitely graced. Sunday, our missionaries had the opportunity to travel to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich as they were accompanied by a group of Belizean students who would be assisting them throughout the week in their catechesis and afternoon apostolates. At Xunantunich the missionaries encountered some of the wildlife of Belize as they saw the infamous howler monkeys (though they were curiously silent), the dangling gymnast known as the spider monkey, and the slithering iguanas as they ventured up the high edifice of the remains of a 7th century Mayan ruin with its intricate frieze. Atop the 130 ft. ancient temple they could see the fecund vegetation of the distant hills and mountains of Belize and those across the border in Guatemala.
Later that night we started our three-night youth conference on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit with the youth from the high schools in the surrounding areas. The conference so far has been a huge blessing as the missionary have been able to engage Belizean youth in conversation and listen with attentive ears to their stories, joys, and struggles. The first night included a talk from our fearless leader Fr. Mark Wendling, SOLT and a testimony from Olivia about her encounter with the Father. The night was followed by a game of glow-stick capture the flag which displayed the abundance of God the Father’s provision in providing us with the joy of encountering one another as brothers and sisters in leisurely fun. The second night involved a talk from Sister Aloysius, SOLT about God Incarnate and her testimony about her search for authentic love. It was followed by a witness from Roland who enchanted the Belizeans with modern day parables that encouraged the youth to seek reconciliation with God in the sacrament of Confession. The night proceeded with at time of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament accompanied by praise and worship while Belizean youth had the opportunity to go to the sacrament of Confession. The night concluded with small group discussions that, due to their fruitfulness, went late into the night.
On Monday morning we were able to visit a young woman and her six children in order to assist her in picking up trash, mowing the lawn, and taking care of the kids. The missionaries beamed as they encountered the beauty of these wonderful children. Roland, Luke, and Marcus V. found lawnmowers to give her yard a proper haircut. It was a notable improvement once they were finished.
This week the missionaries started their catechesis at their perspectives schools in the villages of Calla Creek and Arenal. Those in Calla Creek gave catechesis on the sacraments, while those in Arenal gave catechesis on the parables of Jesus. The children sang songs, watched a skit, and played games as they joyfully met the missionaries visiting. In the afternoon, some missionaries visited homes offering their donations that they brought with them for the various needs of the families, while others helped the local high school by painting their fences.
Our time has been bookended by prayer, the Mass, and the sacraments allowing for us to do all these things with the strength that comes from God and doing it all for the glory of God. There have been trials along the way as our place of residence has had its water cut off, but the missionaries have learned to embrace these hardships with humor and flexibility, making adjustments with ease and with little complaint. We have been very blessed with a great group of hardworking and enthusiastic missionaries.