Students find community in Belize

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A group of TCU students went to Belize this spring break for something different than the beaches, resorts and good times. They went to form a community.

, Krupa Patel and Sarah Crowder pose for a picture at the school they served at in Belize.
Allegra Petta, Krupa Patel and Sarah Crowder pose for a picture at the school they served at in Belize.

Christ Chapel Bible Church has taken college students on a spring break mission trip to Belize for six years.

Krupa Patel, a freshman biology major, said she went on the trip to find fellowship.

“The biggest impact of this trip is that we all came home with 95 sweet friends who will encourage each other to pursue Jesus every day,” she said. “Being able to build relationships with other students and the kiddos in Belize was incredible.”

Christ Chapel has had a college ministry for almost 20 years.

Josh Storie, the college pastor at the church, said the involvement with TCU students started with a bible study in the basement of the church which continued for 10 years.

“After 10 years we started the Sunday service at The Aardvark,” he said. “It was only supposed to be a six-month thing and now we have been doing services there for more than six years.”

The church previously hosted many mission trips to Guatemala but heard of a need in Belize about six years ago.

“We partner with a group called International Servants who raise up Belizeans to build Belizean churches,” Storie said. “We don’t go to save the day, we just go to serve.”

Storie said they play whatever role the church wants them to do – working on construction sites to help build churches as well as going to the schools in the area and teaching the children about Jesus.

“Most of the time the kids just need to be loved,” Storie said. “So, we play with them and show them God’s love.”

Storie said the trip continues to grow every year. Last year the church made room for 80 students and this year 95 made the trip.

“We essentially draw two kinds of students onto this trip – mature believers who want to serve and students who are searching for something,” Storie said. “Every year we have students who grow in their faith and we have students who come to know the Lord.”

TCU student Ben Hopper plays with Belizean students during the Christ Chapel Bible Church mission trip.
TCU student Ben Hopper plays with Belizean students during the Christ Chapel Bible Church mission trip.

New students and returning students come on the trip every year.

Ben Hopper, who had not been on the trip before, said his favorite part was spending six hours a day at the school they served.

“The first day the kids just latch onto you and follow you around for the entire week,” he said. “On the last day one of the boys, Carlos, had written me a note telling me how much he loved me and couldn’t wait to see me next year.”

The Belizean students spend their entire year waiting for spring break to come around so they can see their TCU friends again.

Hopper said, “even though I will be a senior next year, my spring break is going to be spent in Belize with Christ Chapel Bible Church one last time.”