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Monday, July 02, 2007

On A Mission

Well, we're getting ready here.

In a few short days, I'll be leaving with a group of 35 people from St. Paul's on a Youth Mission Trip to San Antonio, Cayo District, Belize.

Our flight leaves Newark International Airport at 9 AM, Saturday, July 7. Because of the high security levels, we'll need to be there by 6:30 AM. We return Saturday, July 14. I'll be in church and preaching on Sunday the 15th.

Our "mission" is to build a playground for the children of this remote mountain village. One of our parishioners is an architect who designed the playground. We've been working with one of our families who made contact with the local authorities in order to purchase the building material.

This mission trip has actually been a few years in the making. It all started with one family who took a summer vacation in Belize City and then headed north to check out the Mayan ruins with some folks they met in their vacation party. They fell in love with the little town of St. Antonio and began a relationship with some of the people there.

For the past two years, St. Paul's has collected toys and clothing to send as Christmas presents, distributed with the help of the local Roman Catholic priest. We've also been sending basic first aid supplies to the local nurses - things like band aids, children's Tylenol and liquid Sudafed - and other stuff we all have in our medicine cabinets but take for granted. We are told that these simple, basic things are in short supply in this rather rustic mountain village.
Our Parish Nurse and several of her assistants will be joining us on the trip. They are bringing medical and dental supplies - all generously donated from local doctors and dentists.

We'll be staying in these cabanas, as they are called. No windows or screens. No air conditioning - but, being in the mountains and near a river, we probably won't need it. I understand the food is amazing and the people are wonderful. We are also going to hike among the Mayan ruins and have one day planned for tubing in the river. I can't wait.

I'm bringing my camera and my laptop. There's no wireless available but there is a phone line in the office. The owner says we can use it to send a daily email update to parents.

I'm hoping to be able to purchase a cell phone and a few calling cards and send at least one blog update a day. I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about - technically speaking. I only know that it can be done. I'm heading out tomorrow to talk with my new best friend, the computer nerd, who is going to break it down for me. We'll see how it goes.

If anyone has any technical advice about how all this works, do drop me a line.

The greatest miracle of all is that I have to pack for a week and make it fit in one suitcase and a carry on which includes my laptop. There's a lottery in the neighborhood that grows larger everyday. I understand the odds are I won't make it.

Oh, they of little faith!

(Well, just in case, keep me in your prayers.)


Suzer said...

Have a wonderful trip! I hope the young people find this to be a positive and life-changing event.

I've not been to Belize, but if my mission trip to West Africa is any indication, bring plenty of bug spray (I think what we used was called "Jungle Juice" and was 99% DEET; don't get it in your eyes, but the stuff is amazing for trips like this), toilet paper, and immodium. Bring mosquito nets if you can.

We did not have reliable electricity, but conditions in Belize might be better. We were only able to get word to folks that we had indeed arrived safely, and after that no one heard from us until we got home. I look forward to your posts about the trip!

Mike in Texas said...

What a wonderful thing for you and your youth group. Just reading about it made me excited for all of you.

I do hope you find a way to update us via the blog so we can experience a little bit of the adventure.

Jim said...

You plug the thingee into the whatever and it connects to the something-or-other. I think.

Note: I am a business systems analyst and database programmer! :-)

Have a wonderful trip, bring back lots of stories and digital pictures. I shall pray for your success.

Who set up the schedule so you have to preach on the 15th? Isn't there a warden, deacon, or someone to delegate to for one Sunday? EEEK!


Muthah+ said...

Prayers go with you. As one who has done mission work in Central Amereica, I second Suzer's advice. Lots of BUG JUICE!!! Also mosquito net!

Such trips often are life changing and also draw out vocations to ministry that are not just to the priesthood. There is a reality to life there that is addressed by faith alone. Have a wonderful time.

Mary Helen said...

I have confidence that you will get all you need packed in the space available... :-)

This will be such a wonderful experience for you all! We'll look forward to reading your blogs re the trip as you are able to post them.

Bon voyage... and stay well!! :-)

Ann said...

I'd ditch the laptop - free yourself from the techno world -- stuff will chain you to worry.