New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie
Posted: 27 Jan 2020 04:03 AM PST
LAC’s regional team gathers in-person twice each year: in August following our regional conference when we’re all in one place anyway and in January. Historically, the January meeting has been in Santiago, but this year we met in Belize, home of Area Facilitator Herb Burch and his wife Markie. The reasoning was two-fold. Firstly, Belize City is far more economical and convenient than Santiago for those not traveling from Santiago (for the sake of my sanity, I altered my travel plans and went directly from St. Louis, meeting up with most of the gang at MIA). The game-changer, though, is a piece of property adjacent to their home in Banana Bank that the Burches purchased and are in the process of gifting to the LCMS: Camp Concordia. We were some of the first guests to stay there and envision all of the ways the Lord will use the property for His glory and the furthering of His kingdom in Belize!
Beware of the other residents at the shrimp farm where we paused for lunch on our way to camp.
The bunk house is divided in half; one half is further subdivided into two rooms.
Each half of the bunk house is outfitted with a half bath, but there are additional commodes as well as showers in this building. The hot water was hit or miss, but from Markie’s exceptional cooking to the fact there’s WiFi, our stay qualified as “glamping,” pure and simple.
The dining hall doubled as our worship space, meeting room, and evening hangout.
What’s camp without a campfire?!?
Camp Concordia came with a bonus church/preschool about 10 km. away in Valley of Peace. Benjamin Flores, a Bolivian national and 2019 graduate of the DR seminary, and his wife Karina hold weekly children’s outreach activities here. They’ve been in Belize for ~2 years now and recently relocated to a house on the Camp Concordia property.
Our visit to Valley of Peace was part of a larger outing that included lunch – and ice cream – at Western Dairies in the Mennonite outpost of Spanish Lookout. (Mennonite?!? Yes, for a country of 400,000, Belize is blessed with incredible diversity. Spanish Lookout could have been Iowa. Elsewhere, you’d find jungles and Mayan ruins, as well as the only mental image I had of Belize from a 2015 mission trip to Seine Bight – a coastal peninsula that felt like something you’d see on House Hunters International. Some schools teach FIVE languages.)
Everyone was confused when the lead van pulled into the parking lot of Plett’s Home Builders, until Herb connected the dots between the pre-fab model homes above and the church building in Seine Bight, which was assembled here and transported over 150 km to its new home.
Our final stop was Countryside Park. Yeah, there’s a scenic lake, but there’s also a cool spiral-shaped timeline commemorating Spanish Lookout’s 50th anniversary in 2015.
Our lunch spot has been around for 50+ years, with good reason!
Much negotiation and discussion remains to be had, but opportunities for short-term individual and team involvement abound. I’m not sure when or in what capacity, but as I wrote in Camp Concordia’s guest book, “I WILL be back!”
Until next time, blessings!
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