"...think of how much that community could do for itself if we just gave them the amount of money we would spend on the trip."
BUT...the real point of mission trips is not about getting work done for those in need. It is overwhelmingly obvious that the value of St. Luke's coming back to Holy Cross Anglican School year after year is that we build relationships. Deep relationships. Walking around San Pedro with our tiny team for a few hours transformed my understanding of what exactly we are doing as God's hands and feet here in Belize.
When we were a block away, there was a man sitting on the sidewalk with carvings all around him. Carvin' Marvin called out and welcomed us like old friends -- and we were. He and Jan are old friends, and he and Bob Moore are even better friends.
Victor drives a taxi which is almost like a school bus for Holy Cross. His face lit up when he saw Jan, and she continued to tell me stories about him and Carvin' Marvin and other friends as we strolled through the town.
And one of the favorite haunts of the St. Luke's Belize Mission Trips is DandE's Custard (pronounced "dandy's). Elaine (the "E" of D-and-E) welcomed us like family when we came in, as old friends who have been gone too long -- and that is truly what we are.
I (Helen) will be leaving Belize with a new understanding of the purpose and value of St. Luke's Mission Trips to Belize. I will be leaving new friends and family. My own family saves and plans in order to get together with distant family and friends every few years. The relationship between St. Luke's and Holy Cross Anglican School/San Pedro, Belize is similar. We come back year after year not to "do something for them" but rather to keep up with old friends, watch their children grow. and share their joys and sorrows. Amen, Alleluia.