Tuesday, March 10, 2020

fostering relationship

Prior to leaving in June,we visited Fountain of Life church in Spanish lookout.  We were able to bring people from our community as well as the Deaf in the area came. The purpose in the visit was to explore possibility of connecting for frequently.

having coffee before church

Since then, Fountain of Life supports Jesus Deaf church to come once a month.  We bring people in the van, Nathanael interprets, and they provide a lunch for us.  The monthly visits began in January. It is a "typical" non-denominational service" with worship, Sunday school and preaching.
the Deaf section

The exciting component is seeing both communities collectively enjoy fellowship and foster relationship.  Just as thrilling is that there are people at Fountain of Life who feel called to Deaf ministry.  We revel in the partnership.

Nathanael interpreting during worship

Please pray with us as we continue. Pray that the people of Jesus Deaf church and Spanish Lookout Deaf community would experience Christ. We long for it to go beyond a set of rules, for them to truly know and have a relationship with the Father.

a game of volleyball after church

Additionally, (and somewhat unexpectedly) our kids are flourishing in the relationships they are forming.

The kids also hung out and drew with chalk on the court

Friday, February 7, 2020

Restoration (and pictures of the past month)

I thought  a good way to sum up our past month and a half was to share some pictures.

Our cookie party this year was a bit small (by choice) but everyone had fun

On a personal level I started reading the book "Soul of Shame" it has been eye opening and hopefully life changing for me.  I am recognizing how much I do out of shame and the desire to protect myself from pain.

Everyone who was at the NYE party

One day while running with Zion. (she is my Friday workout buddy), God gave me my word for the year: restoration.  He also spoke to me about my heart towards it.

We have started to go to Fountain of life church in Spanish lookout, once a month. We bring people from our church, and Deaf from the area come while Nathanael interprets

  I have specific, good goals for what I want him to restore.  I don't think these goals in themselves are sin or wrong. The issue is when I have an idea of what  it will look like in my life. I have been seeking safety in God answering my prayers the way I want him to answer them.

Amado and Nadia at church one Sunday

This is so entrenched in me that disentangling it is a huge process.  I am trying to enjoy the messy middle of it all. I want to be thankful that Jesus doesn't let me stay in the same place.
Elizanie and Elmer came over one day during Christmas break. Nathanael interpreted so Elizanie could enjoy the movie

In talking with a good friend recently, she reminded me that my writing often brings out a different side of me. In the past year or so, the writing has mostly been geared towards " this is what is happening with Jesus Deaf Church"
Nathanael taught Misael about spark plugs

I am taking this snippet of time to just share what God is doing in my life, and to admit that currently it ain't pretty.  Coming face to face with sin of any kind isn't a walk in the park.
Elizanie practiced doing a Bible Study that she made up

The day Zion and I were dripping in sweat, plodding our steps through the grass; God started with reminding me of his faithfulness. This year he has not only answered a lot of my prayers, he has gone above and beyond. For one, I didn't think that Revelation Wellness would be more than a way for me to bring health to the community around us.  In addition to that, it was also a way that opened up more freedom for me personally. In that journey to freedom and health, I pray it is spread to others.

Misael and Elizanie doing announcements 

Today it is my prayer for restoration. When He does it, he isn't restoring to the former. It is something new. I am asking him to come, and for him to work in his ways. I am trusting he will do it in the coming year!

Nathanael interpreted for a well child visit

these are just a small glimpse into what we have been "up to" 

Monday, December 30, 2019

A licence to drive

One of the things Nathanael has been doing as a part of discipleship; and to aid in ministry, is teaching to of the younger guys to drive.

I have to admit, I am glad I was out of the country for the initial lessons!

The Belizean government was willing to give the licence before we were ready to allow them to drive alone.

That being said, We are very thankful that both Elmer and Misael now are "road ready".

Saturday, December 7, 2019

opening our home to guests

We have been so blessed this summer and into fall. After returning from furlough, we had a number of visitors.

Out for ice cream and watching a Bible Study in ASL

 Interestingly enough, I have been praying for helpers for over a year.  Tim Groff introduced us to a lovely young woman, Sarah. She finished her time in Vida 220. She is looking to see what her next steps will be. She is Belizean, which means a big part of her working with us will be easier. She knows her way around, she can have a job, etc.  Please pray with Sarah in the decisions she has to make.

Sarah did some homeschooling with the Davis kids

After we had Sarah and her friend Lydia, we were visited by the Charles family. Luke and Sherelle came with their 3 children: Caedmon, Derick, and Corrie.

The Charles Family

 The family joined in ministry with us in the community.
Luke helped with the kids while I stayed in Bible Study, a rare treat!

They were also kind enough to take us on a 3-day excursion visiting tourist attractions in Southern Belize. What a blessing to share in serving in this way!

Sherelle stepped into a lot of Deaf ministry

Carissa, a senior at Dock Academy arrived for her senior experience. I was extra thankful that she came during this time.  At the beginning of her time, Zion and I were at Kidz Konnect. (She braved a 4-hour van ride each way to help bring some from our church to the doctors).  We adopted her as our fifth child for 2 weeks. We really feel like having her was a positive experience.

Carissa riding in the back of the minivan home from Kidz Konnect

Carissa stayed 2 days after I had to leave for my Revelation Wellness training retreat. Those days were weekend days, full and intense.  It was a blessing to have Carissa help when I couldn't.  Thanks, Carissa for all of your assistance, and love.

Carissa had a youth night they made bagel pizzas

A week before Thanksgiving my parents and brother visited.
The token "Belize sign" picture with my parents and brother

It was my father and brother's first international trip.  It was a joy to share our lives with them. The previous two times my mother visited were dictated by other activities: Kidz Konnect in October 2016 and Abigail's quince in May 2019. 
Walking in a cave 

We found it helpful to be able to have a schedule based solely on our activities.  They also were able to take us to a few favorite places in Southern Belize. My parents insisted on helping around the house which included helping fix screens in our home. That was awesome since it was Six days felt like such a quick trip. We hope now that my dad and brother have their passports they are able to come and visit again. 
They participated in drama Sunday

This week rounded out our time of visitors. We had Two couples a day apart.  One couple were missionaries in Orange Walk 30 years ago.  The other couple was Kathy who lived here (in our apartment) to interpret for Sulmi.  Kathy brought fun games, including cup stacking which has since been a huge hit in the Davis household and Jesus Deaf Church.

Kathy with the youth that came to game night

While not a "full" explanation of our busy lives, perhaps there is a greater understanding of what we have been up to the past few months!  We feel beyond blessed to have had visitors.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Not old hat

There are times when we do something so often it becomes "old" to us, not as exciting. When I finally stopped to count, I realized it was officially my 10th time of joining the Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus family.  Was it old hat?  Actually I have found if I listen to the Holy Spirit, he always has something new for me to learn.  It is also exciting to see how God is growing their family in Southern Belize.  We are blessed to work alongside of them, and the Deaf in Orange Walk have received help through their ministry.
our suitcases all ready to go

Zion was the child who came with me this time. We left for the airport Wednesday morning. What a joy and a privilege it is that they let us ride in the Kidz Konnect bus with them!
unloading for the days work

Another thing that is growing in me is meeting with the same patients over and over again. This is especially true when i have the opportunity to work with the Spanish speaking population.
Nathanael interprets for one of the people from Deaf Church

The people of Jesus Deaf Church were able to come on Saturday. It is such a blessing to talk to the doctors and coordinate medications. Anna got a massage. She felt so much better! Marta and Anna also got glasses.
Tables set up for triage

It was such a refreshing time for Zion and I as well as the people of Jesus Deaf church. I am enjoying the role of being more involved medically with the population we work with.

Thanks Kidz Konnect for how you serve Belize!

sitting with someone from church and reviewing their medications after returning

Thursday, October 31, 2019

all is not quiet

Although it may seem as such, ( because it has been silent on the blog) Actually the opposite is happening. It has felt that we've been busy since we entered Belize (and possibly before then).

the view from one of the hikes Nathanael went on (sporting his EMM tee)

I could list all we are doing, but I am holding out that "someday soon" I will catch up on the blog.  One thing that has happened since we returned is we have had a significant number of visitors: both Belizeans and people from the US. This is fun and adds to the schedule.  I am hoping to do future posts about all of our visitors!

leaving Belize

Today I am going to focus on something that I should not be writing about.  Before you begin to contemplate, let me set the stage.

Seeing an old friend and his new baby

 Back in March/April, Velvet Ashes had a feature post about Traction. (A retreat specifically for men in missions, see link for more information and a cool video)  Immediately I was excited. I spoke to Nathanael about it and his only response was "do you know how much it costs to fly to Switzerland?" I was excited because this type of retreat fit him to a tee. No note taking requirement, lots of extrovert time and of course hiking!

they rode up the mountain in this, similar to an incline plane in Pittsburgh/Johnstown area

I prayed about it and discussed it with people from our sending church Hopewell Christian Fellowship.  People there caught a vision and sponsored Nathanael to go. Once I had the go-ahead, I sat down and paid for his tickets. My mentor and I had a great plan to surprise him, however when Nathanael inspected the credit card charges (he does this every day) He asked me why I had  a plane ticket as a charge. The cat was out of the bag!
the table is set

Nathanael left Belize to be (very) cold in the mountains of Switzerland.  He was even able to reconnect with old friends. (Who had come to PA on an exchange program 10 years ago)
at the highest place in Europe

He attended sessions, spent time in small group and counseling time.  He hiked, interacted, and played Settlers of Catan in Polish. (Everyone spoke English but the game was from Poland).  Mostly though he rested and recharged in ways that he hasn't in years. It was a time of refreshment.

Nathanael and his friends at the highest place in Europe

We are so thankful to the individuals from Hopewell that supported us in this way. Existing in health allows us to minister in health.  (physically, emotionally, and spiritually).

signing cow

Next on the radar, and an additional reason I am mentioning retreats today, is my trip to Phoenix, Az.  I will be spending 9 days retreating.  It has been helpful to have our zoom calls weekly, I feel like I have at least gotten to know some people's faces that will be at the retreat. 

I leave tomorrow.  Please be praying for Nathanael and the family during this time.  We have a visitor on her senior experience until Monday. That will be helpful at Bible study and church this weekend. If you want to be praying for me, I have the prayer calendar downloaded, I am hoping I can attach it to the Facebook post.

Thanks so much for supporting us in this way! We are excited about what God is doing

this is a screenshot of the PDF. If you would like me to email you the PDF let me know :)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sermon Derailed…Taking Their Turns

This morning church started as it normally does.  We have a typical service compared to other churches, except for one thing, it’s in sign language.  We start with announcements which are presented by a Deaf church member. Then a different church member prays for the service.  Next, we have a time of praise and worship songs.  Many of the songs are common church songs, however, in our setting, they are silent.  We don’t have a worship leader.  Instead, several church members will pick a song and then they take turns leading the songs they have chosen.  When the worship time is over, we have a time of sharing. Today less shared than normal.  After that we have offering and an offertory followed by a short break when the children exit the sanctuary. 

Last week I preached on when Jesus revealed his death and resurrection by telling the story of Jonah.  This week I started to preach on Matthew 8:23-27.   This is the story of the disciples waking Jesus during a storm on lake Galilee.  I started with the setting.  Jesus was travelling around Galilee by foot or boat preaching to the large crowds that surrounded him.  My sermons are very open.  Often, I ask questions or am interrupted to answer great questions.  This week a Deaf church member asked why Jesus was here for such a short time.  He could easily have stayed and done years or decades more work.  After much discussion, it was suggested and agreed that one reason was so the disciples could, “take their turn”.  Quickly the discussion turned into the need for the Deaf church members taking their turns like the disciples did.

What a great way to have my sermon derailed.  What a great discussion.  Please pray for Jesus Deaf Church as we continue to grow.