Senior Trip to Belize, 2020

Reflection of my time in Belize, by Tarah Gantzert, FBA Class of 2020

Stepping off the plane into Belize, I was pumped for a new adventure and ready to take a break
from the hustle and bustle at home. It didn’t hit me until being on a peaceful beach, in a different
country, the weight of the stresses and circumstances in my life back in Naples. But after my
week in Belize, I came back to Florida refueled and refilled by the Holy Spirit. I did not realize
how much my time in Belize would change me and shape me into who I am now. A million
memories went into a week’s trip, and a week’s trip created a lifelong impact.
One of the biggest pieces that I took home with me from this trip is the strengthening of
my faith. Every morning, a few friends and I would wake up at sunrise and do our devotionals.
We would wake up at 5:50 A.M. and walk to the wooden beach chairs by the water and spend
an hour with God. Doing this each morning provided me with new insight on how to savor every
minute of the day with the people around me, and how to glorify God while doing so. It was like I
got a special “nugget” out of each day. From spending so much time with Him and in His word, I
fell in love with being in His presence, and made it a daily habit to spend time with Him. In
Belize, it seemed as if the Holy Spirit was present everywhere I went and with everyone I talked
to. With being surrounded by people who exemplify God in their daily lives, I was able to glean
from them their attributes and attitudes, and use them in my own life. I was also able to see the
full beauty of God’s creation in the mountains, waterfalls, and jungles of Belize. Every sight was
a reminder of how capable God is and how he is always with us.

On the second day of VBS, I met a girl named Camille. She came and sat next to me
while making crafts. She was very quiet and reserved. When I asked her if she knew who Jesus
was, her eyes lit up and she got so excited! She proceeded to tell me that she prays every night
before bed and that she loves Him. Throughout the day we became best friends, giving each
other the biggest hugs and sharing stories. Meeting Camille made me realize how we, as
humans, get extremely caught up in so many different numbers. For example: How many
friends we have, how many likes we get, how much money we have. But genuine contentment,
excitement, and joy comes from having true connections with others and having such a great
love for others, even if it is with a few people rather than many people. I was reminded we
should appreciate all the people we have in our lives and build connections with the people we
have in our lives rather than worry about gaining the approval of those who don’t. Like the age
old saying says, “Quality over quantity.”

It didn’t take me until I was sitting in my living room to realize how much Belize had an
impact on me. While going through experiences and certain phases of life, it is difficult to see
how you are changing and difficult to understand your day to day situations. However, once you
pause and look back on what you have experienced, you see the bigger picture. I truly believe
God sent me to Belize to build me back up from facing difficulties in His image and remind me of
what is truly important in my life. I was reminded of how we should live for Him, how much we
should rely on Him, and how important it is to be rooted in Him. Our God knows how to reach us
and dwell in our hearts in a way particular to us, and I know for sure he used that week in Belize to reach me.

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