Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Taking up my yoke

We are coming to the end of our 9-week furlough. To say it was fast would be an understatement. We have enjoyed small tastes of many different activities we missed and big tastes of special treats. We squeeze in times to fellowship and extra hugs. I have come to recognize that I can't "make up for" the two years we were gone, nor the time we will be gone in the future.
our visit to Connecting Deaf church


My kids, Zephaniah especially, are experts in this area. They enjoy what is in front of them with full vigour. I am trying to learn vicariously from them.

we did a bit of hiking in Peace Valley


The point was reiterated to me today. I was in a conversation with friends. They talked about kids, fixing up their houses and camping.  Although we paint some of the rooms, the house we stay in isn't our own. We make it home to the best of our abilities.


we went ice skating as a family

The conversation led my mind to wander. There are many times as of late I believe that others have an easier road than we do. In my mind, I recognize it's a lie of Satan. In my heart, the cool air blows my hair and I remember snow. I begin to wonder how much better our lives would be if we lived in Pennsylvania. I miss things, people and opportunities.

even Abigail dipped her toes in the water

It is in these moments that God reminds me. Driving in the snow really stinks. I am blessed that I only have one wardrobe. I haven't had to buy winter clothes for our kids in years. (We usually make sure they have one sweatshirt/jacket that fits and one pair of pants) More importantly, my calling looks different.
Selah and my mom work on a tye dyeing project

If we all had the same calling there would be a lack in so many areas. What a blessing to be a part of the body of Christ. What an awesome thing that our Heavenly Father actually planned for this.

Nathanael had the opportunity to boat with Greg Stemler for an overnight trip


While on the EMM retreat this past April, we were asked to take one truth with us. The thing I felt called to apply to my own life was understanding more about what it means to take up his yoke.  The process of listening to my friends, yet find joy in my own life, is an ongoing one. Some struggles are more blatant while many times they remain hidden.

I was fascinated by the book check-out process at the library


I am choosing to step into the calling He has placed on our lives as a family with acceptance.  He loves us, sees us, and has a plan that involves both Nathanael and I and our children. The "missed" opportunities aren't a reality. Our assignments are contrasting yet prepared ahead of time, should we be willing to step into His best for us.
as cold as we'll be for a long time! 



What yoke has he called you to today?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

an open door

You may have noticed the pictures of Sandra. She is a Deaf woman who resides in  the town of Spanish Lookout. Spanish Lookout is a Mennonite colony in the middle of Belize.

Sandra has a unique story. She grew up in Guatemala as a Deaf child, with little language. At 15, she braved the journey alone to the Belizean border. She had heard about a school in Spanish lookout that teaches Deaf. She attended the school and lived with a host/foster family there.  She is now 38. She lives and works in the Spanish Lookout community.

Sandra, the first time she visited with the children

Sandra's story has many amazing twists and turns. God has used her in our lives and others.  About 6 months ago her host mom contacted us. Sandra is able to occasionally attend or church: Jesus Deaf Church in Orange Walk. When she comes it's a 3-hour trip, encompassing changing buses once and being aware of where to ask to be dropped off.  Mostly, Sandra stays in Spanish Lookout and attends church there.
Sandra came to our Easter service. Here we are at the Lagoon



The Deaf Church in Spanish Lookout was started because of the school for the Deaf there.  The group that does ministry in that area are some of the most conservative Mennonites living in Belize. They have done amazing things. The difficulty for some of the Deaf is to attend church requires conforming to the idea of wearing cape dresses, coverings as well as specific clothing for men.


Alva, Josue, Selena

Sandra's parents pastor a less conservative church. Her mother attempts to interpret, but this isn't her training. They were contacting us to wonder if we know of a Christian who would be able to interpret at Fountain of Life church on Sunday mornings.  There isn't one that we know of.
Elton and Misael

The conversation didn't end there. We were invited as a church to join them at Fountain of Life, (their church in Spanish Lookout), for worship.

On June 2, Nathanael navigated the Belizean highway, picking up 17 people along our way, arriving at Fountain of Life for their 9:30 am service.  Nathanael interpreted for the people we brought, Sandra, along with Deaf living in the area who don't feel welcome at the Spanish Lookout Mennonite Deaf church.
Manuel visiting with some Deaf from Spanish Lookout

Following the service, Fountain of Life prepared a lovely lunch.  We enjoyed the yummy food and fellowship.

Nathanael interpreting at Fontain of Life



Where does this leave us?  We feel called to continue the ministry. We want to navigate this with a lot of grace, without competition. We see it would be possible to attend Fountain of Life about once a month. This means we'd need the funding of 150$ for gas (there and back). In addition, it signifies that we are walking to a minefield spiritually speaking.


After lunch, some people from Fountain of Life prayed for Elizanie



We ask that you would pray with us. What does this open door mean for us? More importantly, what does God want to do? Thank you for joining with on this journey. We are excited about what God has planned.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

learning to be an advocate

Three weeks into our furlough. What have we been doing?  We have been eating salads and junk! Last week I went to the grocery store and came back with 4 different types of ice cream! The prices and variety just appealed to me too much!


Kelsey, Yalitza, and Elizanie



Things continue in Belize.



A post that I'd been wanting to write about for a while has been the gradual increase of medical involvement with our community.  It started as needs popped up.  It had an exponential increase as we took people to Kids Konnect, and has propagated by having 3 pregnant Deaf women.
at the hospital waiting to be seen

Nathanael's roll in the US was as an interpreter. He has years of experience in doctor's offices, hospitals, and in the community. He has taught me a lot about allowing the Deaf in our community to become their own advocates. It is unquestionably a process on both ends (mine and theirs).  The Deaf in our community often have people tell them what to do.  We are actively attempting to educate while allowing them to step in and be a part of their care.

Nathanael interprets in an appointment


One way that I am doing this is with the pregnant women.  I attended medical appointments. Nathanael interpreted, I encouraged the women to ask questions.
our last day (June 9) of church

In this process, Nathanael and I recognized the gap in the area understanding labor and breastfeeding.  I put together a short class, including YouTube videos and pictures.  I taught exercises to aide in preparing the body for labor, stages of labor, and about breastfeeding. Nathanael interpreted.  He had 2 Deaf women share their labor stories.

the class setup


We ate lunch together after the class.  I was able to give all 3 a stretch band to take with; hopefully incentive to continue the exercises at home.
Lunch was yummy, Anna joined us

The matriculation (and arguably most anticipated part) of this story is that Elizanie had her baby on July 2.  It is exciting to see her. We are bereaved that we were unable to be in Orange Walk to interpret during her labor.

Please be praying for Brieany as she had to go back into the hospital due to jaundice, as well as healing/health for Elizanie.


Kelsey and Yalitza will also (most likely) give birth to their children before we return. What prodigious time to be a part of Jesus Deaf Church!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Crossing Cultural Lines (again!)

I have about 5 ongoing lists currently. Things we want to see while in the US, things we need to buy, homeschooling needs, the list of lists goes on.  Today I'm sharing with you a list of what we will be required to remember.  What we need to remember you question? The behaviors and rules that are different here vs in the US. Without further ado our non-comprehensive list:

1.  Toilet paper goes in the toilet. (we may have to move the trash can outside of the bathroom to help with this one)
this is the sign inside of the bathroom of Western Dairies



2.  Personal space is a very different concept in the US vs Belize, especially when standing in  a line or waiting for something
Selah in line for popsicles at 


3 "right now" actually means that very moment! Here it means that is the next thing I will do, or just a moment.

Selah and Zion waiting for the water jugs to get filled



4. Wearing seat belts is the law. It would behoove me to tell you that not too long ago I was quite a stickler for carseat safety. That "me" would be embarrassed by this me.
Full van at Easter. Ni is on my lap. Misael and Elmer aren't even in seats (not to mention the kids bouncing around in the back


5. The sun goes down slowly and later. Here the time that the sun goes down only fluctuates between 4:30pm-6:30pm year round. Once the sun starts going down, it's usually down within half an hour.

picking out costumes for drama Sunday



6.  It's okay to walk in the rain.  Belizeans don't like to go out in the rain. They will stop at a shop and wait till the rain stops to continue on.
How seating is usually arranged for the sermon portion ( encourages interaction)




7. Re-orienting ourselves to be more "cold culture" in our time.  Belizeans tend to be relationship oriented "I give you my time because I care about you" They will make conversation with you, with a long line behind you.  North Americans tend to be task-oriented "I won't take up your time because I care about you" Neither is wrong, they are just different.

some of the people from Jesus Deaf Church who came to Abigail's quince



8 Pants and sweatshirts!  I have a feeling we are going to be quite cold! Our temps haven't been below 90 for over 2 months.  Due to high humidity, the overnight lows aren't usually below 80.

Selah helped serve at a Koinonia event

9 Eggs. In Belize, we buy them from a shelf and keep them on the counter





10. sending the kids to the local shop. In Pennsylvania, I probably would refer to these as a "convenience store" in a one block radius we have 3 food stores and 1 hardware store. I often send the kids out for eggs, rice, beans, onion or flour. The shops are labeled by the country of origin of the owner: "the Chinese shop" , "the Mestizo shop", "The Hindi (Indian) Shop"


I will leave the list at 10. This is mostly because we are in the midst of packing and cleaning.  If you notice my kids (or even us) doing something odd, feel free to ask us about it. Zephaniah especially seems to lose the context for how to act in the US. (We all flounder at times). We look forward to seeing you all in person and lots of hugs!

P.S. If you haven't received our newsletter yet, we do have a list of our current needs. If you feel called to fill those in one way or another please let us know!  :)





For those of you who live in Eastern PA, We are having a fundraiser dinner at Hopewell. Here is a copy of the Flyer. Email us or call Hopewell for more information:




I can't seem to load the flyer correctly (sorry) Here is the information:


Casual dinner and gathering of friends and supporters of the Davis Family serving as missionaries to the Deaf community in Belize. June 23, 2019 5:30 pm Hopewell Christian Fellowship 601 Hunsicker Road Telford, PA 18969


Thursday, May 30, 2019

a cultural celebration

If you are friends with Abigail on Facebook, this post isn't really a surprise to you. This past weekend, May 18th we celebrated Abigail "coming of age" through a fiesta de quinceaƱera.
The court for the quince: (l-r) Zephaniah, Jose, Alexander, Benji, Misael, Timothy, Abigail, Giani, Selah, Morene, Sasha, Zion


Last year Selah was able to be a part of Bethsy's and that was when Abigail decided she wanted one. It came with much discussion. 

Bethsy's Quince



I struggle because I am not one to plan details. Thankfully, Selah took up the reigns there. If you are wondering what a quince is here is a good short video on it:





I debated it but to be honest the idea of celebrating a child and dedicating them to the Lord as they are coming into adulthood was meaningful. I don't at all think it's a be all end all. As a teen, I got to attend a Barmitzvah. In some ways, a quince is the Christian form of this Jewish tradition. I do think honoring a child in this way can be significant. The real blessing to us came in that so many people came around us and helped make the day possible.







Abigail and Nathanael did a Father/daughter dance. Sorry about the photography. I had issues with the phone


Glendy was Abigail's madrina (godmother) and on top of it she planned all of the dances. Eve did all of the awesome decorations. Hermana Blanca and many other ladies in the church made the food. Pastor Ed and Dyna helped out with planning, renting tables and the sermon. Elizanie, my mom and Julie Groff were able to read verses to Abigail. Tim Groff took photos. Tanya helped with doing hair and opened her house to multiple people walking in and out all afternoon. Mariana and Rosa were the MC's and interpreted (into Spanish)

Julie and I try to navigate the bow on the back of Abigail's dress





Giani and Misael at practice. The court practiced about 15 hours of dances before the party




Jo interpreted for our church. What a blessing to celebrate and worship together as hearing and Deaf church.

Hector, Abigail and Glendy (the madrina and padrino)


Jose Luis and Zion



We are so thankful to those near and far who came to celebrate Abigail! In fact, my mom (Mary Ruth Ziegler) came down for 6 days surrounding the quince. She not only helped with makeup and washed my dishes, but she also helped complete the painting project that I'd been wanting to do for months now! Nathanael and I talked about her task-oriented nature :) (I do follow in her footsteps!) She didn't once complain about the heat. She and Julie helped put the curls in Abigail's hair. Of course, I just enjoyed being able to see her in person and hug her!
Abigail, Rosa, Mary Ruth, Mariana and Jo up front reading a verse



Benji and Selah






Abigail has set a precedent! We will see what the 2 more quince's we have will look like ;) I did talk a little with Zephaniah about how they really don't have a celebration for males. He said that when he turns 15, Nathanael and Misael will take him out for pizza. Then he wants them to sing happy birthday to him. We have 6 years to think about that. I am thankful at least one kid is thinking of a simple way to celebrate.

worship: the Deaf seating was on the left side of the church

Mary Ruth and Mariana




For now? Selah is already planning her quince!

Misael and Timothy holding Abigail during the dance



Sunday, May 19, 2019

connections through medical work

The middle of April arrived. Kids connect is something that the whole family really loves.  It was Selah's turn to join me.  Kids Konnect has graciously allowed Selah and I to ride the bus from the airport to Stann Creek. This is awesome because it means not waking up at 4:30 am to catch the bus!  TJ was returning to Dangriga. Other than the very full bus, the trip(s) went without incident.
Selah playing with one of the dogs at Camp Legacy(where we stay during our time with Kids Konnect)


Selah and I found the best places in the bunks (I like to stay away from the blowing air conditioner).

Selah, TJ and I wait for the bus


Wednesday nights are usually spent organizing distributing medicines, and catching up with friends. April Kids Konnect has been extra special the past two years. Nursing students come and serve. It is fun to meet people at the beginning of their nursing journey.

Selah, the helpers and nursing students had a drawing competition

Clinic days for us went: Silk Grass village, Pomona, and St Augustine. Routine is familiar but the patients fluid. I really do enjoy being able to bounce back and forth between interpreting and doing triage. It gives variety. I also often get to follow the same Spanish speaking patients from triage, to see the doctor and hand them their medication in the pharmacy. I believe I have now been in Silk Grass 6 times. It delights me to return to the same place, getting to know the same people and ask them how their lives are progressing.
the table set up for triage

Friday Nathanael brought a (very full) van load of mostly Deaf people from Orange Walk. It was an interesting and full day. The funniest part was me attempting to interpret ASL. Apparently if I didn't know the word in sign language I was vocalizing the Spanish word. We are so thankful to the people at Kids Konnect for loving the Deaf and accommodating them.
Nathanael interpreting for an eye exam


the "seating chart" for the van ride up. 23 people in a 15 passenger van for 3 hours (each way!)

The best part of this process has been an open door for me. We have been able to speak into the medical parts of people's lives. We sit with them and discuss medications. It helps to have a basis of understanding of what their medical issues are.
the April group who served

The other exciting thing was Zepahniah got to stay from Fri-Sunday with us to visit with his good friend Tucker (another TCK) who lives at the camp. His parents serve with Kids Konnect. Zephaniah spent Saturday exploring the creek, riding bikes, and having dart gun fights. What a delight for an 8 year old boy!

Zephaniah and friends catching fish in a net in the river





Thanks Kids Konnect! What a delight to work with you!