The day started with the Eucharist at 6:30 a.m. Father Jon Robbins was the celebrant while I gave a reflection to the team. Sonia Blake read the first lesson while Linda Schlepp-Gray and Rose Skeete led the psalm and the Prayers of the People respectively.
Immediately following breakfast we were off to the Anglican School at Queen’s Square for morning assembly with the teachers and children. We have a wonderful, reliable bus driver named Thomas Card, who owns a bus company in Belize City. He is personally taking the team to their various locations.
Nevertheless, it was a wonderful to hear the children recite the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, sing hymns and spiritual sounds without the help of any books or printed material. The Principal, Myrna Smith, introduced us and invited Erna, our Team Leader to speak on the team’s behalf. The thirty-eight (38) missionaries introduced themselves to the school. The children also presented the history of their school. It was truly a lovely morning standing with the children and their teachers in the square.
After the assembly, we headed out to our various posts for mission work. Father Eric Richards’ grandson, Sehon, took Larry Harris and me to the Diocesan Center, the office of the Bishop and his staff. The purpose for going there was to conduct a seminar on Anglicanism for principals, administrators, and teachers of the Anglican Schools in the Diocese. This was at the request of Bishop Wright who invited me to lead these seminars while we were in Belize last October on our fact-finding mission. Fifteen (15) teachers, including the General Manager of Schools, Ms. Deborah Domingo, attended the first of two seminars. They represented their respective schools since schools have not gone on summer vacation as yet in Belize. Larry assisted me in the slide presentation.
The seminar began just after 10:00 a.m. and the next four-and-a-half hours were rather exhilarating. The booklet and handouts given to the educators included information on What is the Anglican Church, the History of the Anglican Church, the Anglican Communion and its structure, Church Administration and Governance, the History of the Anglican Church in Belize, The Foundations of Faith: Scripture, Tradition and Reason and the three-legged stool. Other topics included the Basic Beliefs of Anglicanism: The Creeds, the Bible, and the Holy Trinity. We also discussed the Church, its worship, and its Sacraments. Finally we looked at the Prayer Book, Symbols and Vestments, Liturgical Colors, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and the 39 Articles of Religion. The body of educators asked several questions and shared their challenges about their role as teachers in an Anglican School. From all reports, the seminar was well-received and participants expressed their gratitude for the material and information they had received and the plans they have to take what they have learned to their schools. The seminar ended at 2:00 p.m. ended at 2:40 p.m. There was a male teacher who remarked to me after I asked him where he lived, said that he resided in the southern part of the country, near Guatemala, which was a 5-hour drive by bus from the Diocesan Center to home. I expressed my regret that he had to travel so far and long to get home but thanked him for attending the seminar. However, he was accustomed to these journeys and was happy that he came. He wanted to learn more about Anglicanism both for himself and in teaching his students.
Meanwhile in other parts of the mission field. The Medical Group treated 104 children. The children they are treating are mostly students of the Anglican School, and their siblings. Parents filled out acceptance forms before the day of the health clinic and they go with the children to the clinic. The team is realizing that the children are more healthy than in other countries we have served. The Belizean Ministry of Health has sent a Pharmacist and a Pharmacist Assistant to help us dispense medication. We are unsure about the reason they do this but this has been the first time that we experienced this situation. Nevertheless, all is going well and the team is benefiting from comfort of the only fully air-conditioned room in the school. The medical group did not go to the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center since they had completed treating the children there on Monday.
The Construction group is divided into two locations – the school and the child care center. The two groups work the entire day at their respective locations. At the Dorothy Menzies’ location, the construction guys completed two of the five rooms in the girls’ dormitory the Director of the Center, Hortence Kelly-Augustin, asked them to paint. They are painting one room totally pink, two rooms in yellow, one room in lavender and the fifth in pink with an accent wall in lavender. The guys are having difficulty painting the rooms since most of the rooms are small, with a large number of bunk beds, made from cast iron. Thus, they are very heavy, making it difficulty to move them out of the room. So with the tight space, our crew are squeezing through walls and beds to get the work done but are doing so marvelously. The crew at the Child Care Center are also building and painting four (4) storage units, which they have started, fixing a couple of units that are already there and installing fans.
The second group of the construction crew is stationed at the Anglican School. Today, they put a new roof on the restroom facility although it is not completed and have already put in two of the seven toilets…and they are already working. When the work on this building is completed, we would be turning over to the school a renovated set of restrooms for the boys and girls of the school.
The Vacation Bible School have been held for about 90 children at the Anglican School and 25 at the Dorothy Menzies’ Home. The theme for the V.B.S. is: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3). On Monday, they dealt with “Commit to the Lord your choices.” Then today, it was “Commit to the Lord with prayer.” Children were asked “How do you pray and why pray? The team used the acronym PRAY: Praise, Repent, Ask, and Yield. The focus was to show that when you are filled with the Holy Spirit you see things a different way. The children were also invited to push and pray until something happens.
After a very hardworking day, we had dinner, followed by team meeting and Compline, led by Veronica Francis. Some of watched in horror at the awful beating of the Miami Heat by the San Antonio Spurs…and what was most horrifying was the fact they were playing at home. Oh well, we cannot win them all.
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