I served at the Benque Mission from January 2018 to June 2021. I am one of four Belizeans who have so far joined the SOLT missionary volunteers. I tried to study at the University of Belize for one semester after graduating from the John Paul II Junior College, but that did not work for me. Providentially, I received an invitation from one of my past junior college professors to join the community. Upon speaking with Fr. Beau about my situation, I moved into the shack right across from the rectory. The beginning of my time volunteering at the mission was filled with guidance, support, and love from the community. I struggled to love, but I could begin to see how others outpoured their hearts into the community. That changed who I was. A desire grew in me to be a gift for others. The Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist built a life centered on encountering Christ, both in the joys and struggles of life. Prayer brought me into a deeper conversation with God. There were many times when I could listen to His voice. This happened either through playing chess with students, reading novels and encyclicals with missionaries, doing liturgy prep on Saturday mornings, or even having silence in the mountains of Pine Ridge. Today, not much of the missionary lifestyle has changed except that I now work as both the parish assistant administrator and as an English Literature teacher at my high school alma mater. I remain calm and joyful in times of uncertainty and doubt, a reaction I seldomly came across before being in mission.
Daniel Rivera is originally from Benque Viejo del Carmen and continues to serve with the SOLT members at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.