Monday, May 22, 2017

Abner's Trip to Belize Pt.1

Good morning, good evening, whenever you're reading this - hello! Abner writing here. Years have passed since the first time that Beth asked me to write for this blog. I'm finally here doing it! 
A couple weeks ago I took a trip to Belize. Bethany asked me if I would like to tell the story of my trip and I said yes - it'd be a pleasure to do so. 

From the beginning I was so excited to go on this trip. Because of spring break I had a week off from work. I'd recently acquired a passport and wanted to visit a different country. I chose Belize because I have family there and they live on a beautiful island that I wanted to see for myself.

On Sunday, April 9th, I flew to Chetumal, Mexico. Chetumal is about 20 minutes from the border of Belize.
Stepping off the plane in Chetumal, Mexico
From this moment an adventure began that at the time was very frustrating, but I look back now and think it is funny.

When I got out of the airport, I got a taxi. I told the chauffeur to take me to the bus terminal that goes to Belize, however, after going back and forth with him, he convinced me that it'd be better to go straight to the Mexico border. He said it'd be quicker that way - he turned out to be correct. When I arrived at the border, I wasn't allowed to take pictures for reasons of security. It was so much harder to leave my own country of Mexico than to get into the country of Belize! The man at Mexican immigration asked me a million questions. Finally he stamped my passport and let me go.

The river that divides Mexico and Belize
From there I took a motorcycle-taxi that drove me to the entrance of Belize.
I felt so good when I saw that flag! Finally I'd arrived in Belize!

 I have family in Belize and thank God, one of my cousins is an immigration agent. He got me through quickly and into Belize.
My cousin, the man who helped get me through with no issues.
When I first decided to go to Belize, my plan was just to go on vacation to the island of San Pedro, Belize. However, when the Wakefield family heard about my plans, they helped get me in contact with the missionaries there. I had the opportunity to preach there two times - actually, I was supposed to preach three times but ran into some problems...
When I crossed the border, everything immediately changed for me. Everyone was speaking English!! (I don't speak a ton of English - the reason this is all written perfectly is because Bethany is translating this for me. Thank you, Beth!)

Even though they speak English in Belize, everyone speaks and understands Spanish. So after figuring out what I needed to do to get to Orange Walk, I got a bus and we started the drive there. The church that I was to be preaching at is located in Orange Walk - remember, I was traveling on a Sunday and was scheduled to preach that night. I was in a big rush! The bus driver told me Orange Walk was about 45 minutes away and I thought, "Perfect! I'll be right on time for the service."

 The first city we went through was Corozal, a very small, but beautiful city. I'd been told to be careful, that the people in Belize are dangerous, but my experience with them was the complete opposite. The people we so kind, humble, and good.

We passed village after village. It was getting darker by the minute and I still hadn't arrived at my destination. At one point a lady got on the bus and sat next to me. When she got settled, she turned and gazed quizzically at me. I turned to her and said hello. She gave me a huge smile and returned my greeting in Spanish. I asked her, "How long until we arrive in Orange Walk? I was told it'd be about 45 minutes and I've been on this bus for an hour and a half!" The lady replied that we still had about an hour to go. I exclaimed, "Are you serious?!??"
That day, I learned that Belizians have a problem with time.

After finding this out, this lady and I began to chat. She asked me if I was a pastor. I replied that no, I was just a preacher. She replied, "Yeah...I could tell by the way you are dressed."

I'd long since realized that I wouldn't make it to church to preach so I decided instead to preach on the bus. I started talking and testifying to the lady next to me. She seemed really enthralled and all of a sudden she turns to everyone behind us on the bus, "This man is from Mexico and he is a pastor! He's here to preach in Orange Walk!" When she said that, everyone got very excited and that made me nervous.

After about two and a half hours, I arrived in Orange Walk. When I stepped off the bus my fellow passengers all leaned out the windows and began yelling with so much joy and enthusiasm, "Bye, Pastor! Bye, Pastor!!!"
Honestly, they got a one or two tears out of me for that.

Finally I arrived at the church! I got there late and didn't end up preaching, but in my heart I felt peace.
The beautiful church building in Belize
I was honored to meet these two great men, Bro. Harris and Bro. Joiner. I had a good time with them.

It was getting late and I was exhausted. Bro. Mark Joiner showed me to my room and when I walked in, I saw this basket. The Joiner family treated me incredibly well.

The next morning, we got up early and Bro. Harris and Bro. Joiner took me to the city of Corozal. From there I was to take a boat to the beautiful island. 
The sunrise
The dock from where the boats leave for the island
We traveled for two and a half hours in the middle of the ocean. This was amazing! I couldn't believe I was there. 

I was so excited when we disembarked and I finally stepped foot on the island!
Up until this moment, the weather had been perfect. The weather on the island was hotter, but tolerable.

 The fun began after greeting my family. They took me to see the tourist parts of the island.
Central Park
Everyone on the island drives golf carts
Apparently I wasn't the only Apostolic on the island - I also ran into the apostle Peter.
 I was stunned at the clarity of the water. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to dive in and swim.

It was heating up as the day passed by...what better thing to help you cool down than a cold capuchino?

That moment when you forget your flip flops...
The house of the director of Coca Cola in Belize
Inside these shells live tiny crabs
 The fun was barely beginning. My uncles are divers and set me up with all the diving equipment I needed to go snorkeling in the open sea.

 We got in a boat and went out to the middle of the ocean. I couldn't even imagine what all I'd end up seeing there. Fish of all kinds, sharks, turtles, sting ray, dolphins. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures of all of this. 
I was really moved by this marvelous experience. 

I'll be back next time with part two of my trip...

- Abner


Amy Bailes said...

Look like fun. I've always heard that Belize is a beautiful country to visit! And way to go - making great use of your time to preach on the bus!!!

Cherie Marchbanks said...

Yay, Abner!!! I'm loving that you're blogging about your trip. I love the pictures! Can't wait to hear about the rest.

LaLa said...

It looks beautiful! I bet the diving was awesome. My husband teaches scuba and he and my son would absolutely LOVE to dive in Belize.
That was really neat about preaching on the bus.

Mary Frances said...

WOW! This is super cool hearing from the famous Abner!!! Good thing we have Bethany interpreting for us, Although I do admit to using google translate to try and impress a time or too...buuuut this would have been A LOT!!! Anywayz, Belize sounds great, the dad in one of the families I bring to church is from Belize, they seem like a very laid back kind of culture!!! LOL

Mary Frances said...

Oh ALSO, don't forget to tell us about THE FOOD, that's always like, top priority in my life!!! LOL

The Wakefields: Missionaries to Mexico said...

Amy - I always thought the same thing about Belize until I went. But Belize is a very poor country - Abner says the Belizian people think of Mexico being like the USA in comparison to their own country. Abner said the island is beautiful, but the mainland is very poor and third world-ish.


The Wakefields: Missionaries to Mexico said...

Thank you, Cherie! Tomorrow I'll be posting the next part.


The Wakefields: Missionaries to Mexico said...

Lala - it's a really good place to dive. There's are treasures to be seen under the Caribbean.


The Wakefields: Missionaries to Mexico said...

Mary - I just changed my entire next post for you and added more food pictures. Hahaha!
I admit I've used Google translate to impress as well.Ha. But it is a useful tool, I used it while in Belize to communicate with Bro. Harris, the other missionary there.


Mary Frances said...

LOL I'm glad you change the entire post at my suggestion, THATS HOW YOU GET LOYAL READERS ya know?!?! AHAHAHA!! Duuuuuude Abner, you should start your own blog!!! You could just write it in Spanish and theres this gadget you can put up, I have it on the side of my blog, IN CASE you want to become a CMM reader, hee,hee, buuuuut it translates the whole entire blog into what ever language you choose, so you could write it in Spanish and then we can just click on the English to read what you said, that would be super COOL!!!

Mary Frances said...

Okaaaaaaaaaay sooooo, FORGET ABOUT weather or not sharks are vampires too, i'm just trying to figure out WHY you would even go swimming with sharks at all??? Like you read all those stories about people surfing and a leg or arm just got bit off!!! And like, WHY didn't they bite you???

yaaaaaaayyy FOOD!!! It all looks super yummy MINUS the fish!!! Johnny cakes- that sounds like something NICOLE shoulda served at her wedding!!! JAJAJAJAJAJAJAJA!!! (notice the Spanish version of HAHAHA, I learned that from Google Translate! I couldn't figure out why this guy kept writing it like every bit! I thought he was saying like, JAW, JAW, JAW, I was like, OOOOOOOH, the J is making the H! LOL JAJAJAJA:)

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