We love a vacation with a purpose.
A couple of weeks ago Steve and I were able to join some friends in San Pedro, Belize. We’ve always loved having our kids, Shale and Jada, with us on winter trips but this time, the first time in almost 20 years, we were “adults only” and we also used it as a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary (which actually was last May)!
This was a vacation and not a mission trip, but we often approach vacation thinking about opportunities to reach out to the community and get to know the locals, so before we left I connected with a ministry called Hope Haven. A new shelter for children at risk that was built in an old strip club. The staff and volunteers at Hope Haven provide a literacy program, individual and group therapy, hot meals and a safe place for neglected and abused children.
Not really knowing much ahead of time, we signed up - along with our friends, Dan and Becky Neubauer and Nate and Peg Werner to serve a free meal to anyone in the community on Sunday night.
On Saturday, Steve and I looked at a sample menu and realized we were going to be feeding a lot more people than we first thought and found out we would be buying the groceries. Hmmm...where do we buy 35 lbs of ground beef?! Hats off to Becky who was smart enough to ask a waiter! “The butcher of course”, came the answer! And, an added bonus from asking a Belizian, “The butcher will give you a discount if its for a ministry”. Perfect!
Every "mission" feels like an adventure and this one surely did too as we scoured the small town in search of groceries. After stopping to pick up the ground beef packaged in a garbage bag we stopped at about eight grocery stores to find the rest of the items. As we headed toward Hope Haven in our golf cart full of groceries we rounded a corner and two bulk cans of baked beans rolled out of the golf cart and right next to the wheel of a van behind us! Good thing there are mostly golf carts on the roads because everyone drives quite slow!
We and our friends quickly got to work forming and grilling hamburgers, making coleslaw, slicing buns and heating beans to get ready for a crowd. Three hours of prepping and cooking later, moms and children started filing in. Over the next two hours we served about 120 meals! It was so much fun and I just love feeling like we’ve worked hard - which we certainly did as it was hot and constantly busy. It is always a blessing to us when we can meet new people, help out and Wake Up Do Good
Written by: Brandy Siewert
P.S. Yes, we packed Java Relief Coffee for our trip!