Submitted by: Becky Brooks
During spring break in March, a group from McDonald Road Church in McDonald, Tenn., traveled to Belize to help out with some projects at Eden Primary School in the community of San Ignacio-Santa Elena. The mission group painted the classroom buildings; constructed a 165-foot sidewalk, stairs, and picnic tables on the school’s campus; and held a Vacation Bible School (VBS) program.
“This year we painted all of their buildings,” says Daryl Ford, who organizes the group together with her husband, Dan Ford. “This is the first year that their whole campus has been the same color. They were so excited!”
Thirty people went on the Belize mission trip, making it a larger group than the past few years. “For the projects we were doing, it turned out to be the perfect number,” says Daryl Ford. “Each year when we go, it’s like the perfect group comes together — the perfect abilities for the jobs we need to do.”
“I’ve been doing this long enough that I know it’s a God thing,” says Dan Ford. “I know we are going to get the right people.”
This is the 10th year that Dan and Daryl Ford have taken groups from the McDonald Road Church to Eden Primary School in Belize. They share that returning to the same place builds relationships, and a continuity that’s difficult to cultivate any other way. It also allows them to finish projects for the school that might otherwise never get finished.
“The kids we take down love the students there. They’re working, but we tell them, ‘If the bell goes off for recess, go play with the kids,’” shares Daryl Ford. “Plus, we do a VBS program on the campus. About 60% of the students who come there are not Adventist, so we’re meeting needs by being there …. The hard part is saying goodbye, there are a lot of tears. There’s just a bond with the people down there. You just don’t have that if you don’t go back. And, we have a project each time where we finish some aspect of it, so the kids can say, ‘That’s what I did.’”
Not only does it build bonds with the people in Belize, it is a special experience for the people who participate in the trip. Delaney Harris has gone on the Belize mission trip six out of the past seven years. “We’ve practically built this school, and that’s great,” she says. “But, in my own life, it’s changed me — in understanding other people and other cultures — and is really helping me find my mission and find myself. It is just a really cool experience, and I think everyone should go on a trip at some point.”
Georgia-Cumberland | June 2019