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Ortiz House – Las Flores, Belize (January 26 – February 01, 2020)

Nine volunteers, from Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama, and Wayne Miedzinski from St. John’s Parish, and Sr. Luke Boiarski, SCN, returned once again to Las Flores in Belize to continue their mission of helping families in need.

Wayne believes so passionately in the mission of sharing his skills as a master mason, and helping those less fortunate than himself, that this was his seventh trip. Wayne began his trip with a blessing from the St. John’s Family at the 5:00 pm Mass on January 18, 2020. Later that week, he traveled to Nazareth, Kentucky, for another blessing, this time with all of the volunteers, before they headed to Belize.

Although the original plan was to return to Las Flores, to continue work on a house that Wayne has helped build for several years, flexibility and serving where there is the greatest need has always been the calling for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Instead, Wayne and the volunteers helped build a wooden-planked 20x24 feet house for Valentine’s son, Jimmy. Valentine is a well-known Belizean to Wayne and Sr. Luke, and has often helped them on previous visits on other homes within the community. It was decided that by building a home for Jimmy, and thereby bringing together his wife and three children, would serve a greater need.

As in the past, when working in Las Flores, the volunteers stayed at Camp Camalote, but that was one of the few familiar items. For this visit, before they could even begin construction, they needed to clear the site, and burn the tall grasses, ensuring the lack of wildlife or dangerous animals. This build not only benefited Jimmy and his family, but as usual, extended the graces and opportunities within the local community. They hired Andre, a former Camp Camalote groundskeeper, to build the concrete foundation with rods and to frame the flooring. Andre’s skill as a good carpenter were known, and he was able to also provide work for his two assistants. The group of volunteers finished building the house in record time. Sr. Luke, also provided paint for Jimmy and his family to finish the house. Lastly, the volunteers brought seven suitcases of dresses, donated by various benefactors of the SCNs to share with the local girls. In addition to the dresses, Dr. Amit Khanna, from Patuxent Dental in Hollywood, MD, provided a suitcase full of donated dental supplies, which were gratefully accepted and distributed.

As is often the case with most missions to Belize, the volunteers were able to visit with friends they had made on previous trips, and attended Mass at St. Martin de Porres. They were also able to take in local culture and visit Xunantunich, a local archeological site. God has blessed St. John’s again with participation in “helping one family at a time”!

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