Lens Artists Photo Challenge #65: Pick a Place – Belize

If you hopped into this blog post expecting to see the Belize featured in those appealing commercials geared toward the commercial centers where your thousands of dollars are craved and gladly accepted you will be sorely disappointed. The Belize I will present in my photos is the one I fell in love with on my first international mission trip seven years ago and the one I return to every other year including this one.

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I was blessed to go on the first mission trip with four others from my church, our largest team thus far, and we all enjoyed the opportunity to share in this trip together. While there however I felt a special pull to be a lasting part of the ministries we were exposed to. In particular one base din a small house purchased only months before with the intention of making a safe place for kids to play, learn about Christ and congregate.

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This is how Heart House looked the first time I saw it and the moment I heard God speak directly to my heart and say this is what you have been asking me for all these years. Pay attention to what you see, hear and feel here. Thankfully I was obedient and since then it has been on overwhelming seven years of overflowing blessings as I partnered with one of my very best friends, Carol, who is an American missionary serving in Belize at Heart House.

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In partnership with Carol our association of churches helped build the library that was her dream at Heart House. You see the schools in Belize are not government funded, so the sprawling libraries you will find in an American school are non-existent. In 2013 we had a team of folks who traveled back to Maya Mopan, a village near the capitol of Belmopan and we built the shelves for the library and left 600 books to get it going.

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Following the two year plan I didn’t return again until 2015, but it was like going back to a home away from home due to the relationship I have built with Carol and Heart House. The growth of Heart House is a direct testament to the faithfulness of God to those who devote their lives to His service. One of the biggest differences in the third trip I made to Belize was that my 17 year old daughter made her first international mission trip with me. I think it took her less time to fall for the country than it did for me!

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By 2015 Heart House was definitely a lot different. Not only had the library changed, so had the footprint of not only the structure, but the ministry. By 2015 the partnership with our association had developed such that a Christmas Store was in place, allowing the parents of those children served by Heart House could come and shop for items that may have been outside the extent of their buying power. But the appreciation expressed was definitely the best part of the experience. Kindness is always appreciated no matter where in the world you reside.

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By 2017, my fourth time to visit Heart house it was the largest yet, with a new huge storage area in desperate need of shelving to help organize the various items needed to make the ministry offered most effective. Part of the reason the shelving was needed is the way God has opened doors on my side of the partnership such that I am able to provide many items of need to Heart House and continue to develop a partnership with a ministry in Amarillo, Texas called Word at Work. Word at Work takes items sent from all over the United States, loads them into a container and delivers them to ministry groups in Belize.

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The library was also more complete than ever with some very fantastic murals completed by various visiting teams.

 

But I think my most favorite visit to the former British Honduras was this year when I was blessed to stay with my friend Carol in an apartment below her home in the village. Instead of bedding in a training center miles away I got to feel the pulse of the village. I got to see the home of the little boy my family sponsors. I got to see many of the children I have developed relationships in their natural routines.

What was my favorite part? Watching each child and the genuine joy each felt when they were given their own brand-spanking new backpack full of school supplies for the new year.

How could you not love that! Children so overjoyed with such a simple gift and full of appreciation. This is the Belize I know and have come to love. I hope you enjoy the view from this part.

About Joe Owens

Can you tell from my writing I love God? I hope so because that is what I want you to know most about me. I am also a writer who loves taking on fiction prompts and crafting a story. One day you will read my work in print. Until then enjoy it here! For free!
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5 Responses to Lens Artists Photo Challenge #65: Pick a Place – Belize

  1. JohnRH says:

    Books!! Now that is a good mission.

  2. Leya says:

    Seeing children’s happy smiles are precious rewards!

    • Joe Owens says:

      Seeing their smiles is so good and knowing them from previous trips adds to the Joy. Also knowing that many of the items that we send are combined into the blessing this multiplies the return to us.

  3. Tina Schell says:

    Very inspirational Joe – how wonderful to make such a difference in peoples’ lives

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