We just got back from a week long cruise to some Caribbean locales. At times it was quite fun and relaxing, and at other times it was quite exhausting trying to sleep in the same room as a congested 7 month old! So at times it felt relaxing, and at other times like a youth retreat. But all-in-all, we had a blast and are quite thankful for a generous family providing us with a wonderful experience.
Outside of dancing in the New Year (well as much as one could with a sleepy 7 month-old, till about 10:30 pm), two experiences really stood out.
1.) Belize City. This was my 5th time coming to Belize, with the previous 4 coming from mission trips. We took a horse and carriage ride through the city. The driver was intent on us seeing the rough parts, probably so we would feel bad for him and tip him more-he also told us that New Years Day was his birthday and that he needed money to go to the horse races.
But the city was not pretty. At all. We rode through Belizean ghetto and were welcomed by the sarcastic sounds of “Welcome to beautiful Belize…”
I found it quite ironic that many people were exiting the ship in hopes of seeing a lovely landscape. Instead many found slums and extreme poverty. For me it was strangely refreshing, coming back to the reality of the ugly effects of sin and concomitant need for Jesus in a region surrounded by such beauty in islands only 10-15 miles away. I still love Belize even though it isn’t beautiful by any stretch of the word. But they do speak English!
2.) Roatan. While this island of Honduras has its share of poverty and drugs, it is very Christianized and very beautiful and mountainous. One lady we met on the beach-who happened to be reading The Shack because a pastor gave it to her due to the loss of a daughter, took quite seriously the call to minister to orphans. She left Canada to live and work with HIV infected children. Because she was a resident, she was able to adopt several kids. You can see the picture of Connar on the beach playing with some whom we presumed were HIV positive, although I hope I’m wrong. He brought a lot of joy to these kids and these kids brought a lot of joy to him. I hope that Amy and I can continue to put him in situations where he can minister in some way to literal and figurative widows and orphans. That way, it will just be a normal part of his daily Christian life.