Tuesday, March 12, 2019

We are so blessed

Something about the past few months (Jan-March) has made me feel extra busy. I really couldn't put my finger on it. The funny thing is I've been making an effort to get up weekdays at 6:30 and weekends 7:30. (with the exception of the days that I sleep in: Saturday and Monday). Waking up earlier so far hasn't meant I complete more in my day. I have a goal to finish school with the kids before I go to workout at 1:30pm. It has been rarely happening. Nimodo (as one would say in Spanish)

I am determined not to be one of "those" overseas workers who stop blogging/communicating. It just seems to be difficult to find the time to do it recently.

Josue gets his first bite of a tastycake

When Todd and his children came, I opened a precious letter. A dear friend wrote a short note. It was a huge encouragement to me. I put it on my closet, and read it often. It is a reminder to me. It tells me you think of us and pray for us, we are on your minds and hearts.
The ones I kept for myself :) 

Your gifts to us and participate in the ministry we do allows us to be active and present in Orange Walk. We couldn't do what we do without the work you do. Thank you for choosing to be a part of what goes on at Jesus Deaf Church. The ongoing monthly support is essential to the ministry continuing. Thank you!

Zephaniah and Josue playing with bubbles during Sunday School

Connecting Deaf Church also took the time to ask us what we miss. We were given precious things like decaf Earl Grey tea, black licorice, devil dogs, and almond butter.


Selah made the birthday cake for her friend on her 14th birthday


We treasure these treats. I wanted to publicly take a blog post to thank all of you who have enriched our lives in this way. The physical things are really nice. They are small things that make us feel cared for.

me enjoing tea with the dogs

A former missionary to Dangriga area with Kids Konnect sent us a grocery bag full of treats from Trader Joe's. I cried when I opened the package. Dark chocolate. Nathanael is still enjoying the Irish breakfast tea!  The kids couldn't hold out on eating the entire bag of candy. I suppose it's much better than the fire ants getting to it.


We have even gotten 2 boxes full of Tastycakes. Those were treasured and shared!  :) Everyone in Jesus Deaf Church got a small taste of Philadelphia.


Thank you so much to those who have blessed us abundantly.



Monday, February 25, 2019

A delightful visit

Todd and Liz Miller  visited Belize and Jesus Deaf Church in November 2017. It was a wonderful thing to have them and to have them come and minister to people in the church.
Todd, Anissa, Ty and Judah at a waterfall in southern Belize


Liz was unable come this time. Todd came with his children: Anissa, Ty and Judah.  It was a delight to have them participate and learn a bit more about Belize.

Nathanael, Anna, and Michael waiting at the airport

Friday involved them participating (Todd teaching) in Bible study and with the kids.  Todd was helpful in reminding me that the kids area needs to be a Deaf centered area. I am still trying to navigate this with my limited ASL and the mixing of languages that happens.  I would appreciate any insight on this front.
Todd teaching on Friday night

Saturday people from Jesus Deaf Church, Todd and most of our family visited Maya ruins. Lamaini ruins are Nathanael's favorite and the closest geographically.

Anissa, Judah, Ty and Todd at the Laminai Maya ruins

Sunday we had church. Nathanael preached. I taught Sunday school.
At the top of one of the temples, Miller kids, Davis kids, Misael and Krystal


After church, Selah and I made pupusas. Joanna, a woman from El Salvador and Selah's Spanish language tutor has taught Selah how to make them. (they are a native El Salvadorian food). The Millers enjoyed them. Ty even attempted to make some of his own.
Ty and Selah. Selah is an expert at making puposas


Mon-Wed we got to explore the more Southern parts of Belize with the Millers. We took them on one of our favorite hikes to a beautiful waterfall/swimming hole. We also hiked in a cave, and swam in the "blue hole" (inland blue hole, not the one in the ocean)
good time hiking and swimming at the waterfall



Saying goodbye was difficult.
the blue hole in Stann Creek


Thank you Millers for sharing your time with us!

The last picture together







Saturday, February 9, 2019

Not the same trip

January came and it was Abigail's turn to go to Kids Konnect. She was excited! She was deferred this fall as we decided Zion is old enough to attend.  We were also blessed in that Todd Stone allowed us to ride from the Belize City airport instead of waking up at 4am.  The sleeping a normal amount certainly is a huge benefit.
Abigail at the airport


Abigail and I rode the bus from Orange Walk to Belize City at 9am. We hung out at the airport, talked to Todd, and watched as people arrived. It is always fun to see old friends and meet new ones.
I took a picture of this person's ticket so I would remember the number when going to the registration desk(don't worry it's not a medical number and after registration isn't associated with the person at all)


Wednesday evenings are spent orienting, and sorting. Meds, equipment and people are assigned to correct places. I am ever amazed at the efficiency and organization of the Kids Konnect staff. They have it down to a science!
unloading the medical equipment at Pomona

Abigail and I did clinics in both Silk Grass and Pomona on Thursday and Friday.  Abigail was a people mover, she also counted meds. I enjoy helping out wherever the need is. I usually start in Triage, do some interpreting, and help with patient flow.

Abigail hanging signs at Middlesex, San Augistine School

In Silk Grass we met a young lady. It was a pivotal moment for me. She was Deaf. Both Abigail and I attempted to sign with her but we got little to no response. She had spend 3 years in the Mennonite school in Spanish Lookout (from ages 11-14), but otherwise didn't go to school at all. She spends most of her days at home. No one in her family signs. She doesn't socialize with Deaf in her community. Nathanael did send a video from Orange Walk of mostly gestures asking basic questions. She finally understood enough to spell out her name for us.
Abigail got to hold babies a few times this trip

 If I am honest it was helpful to me. I sometimes get caught up in the daily grind, wondering what I am doing here. I still struggle with ASL. I ask myself if there is an impact?  Communicating with her reminded me that she is a reason we are here. We want Deaf to have access.

Nathanael interpreting Zion, Josue and Zephaniah watching


Access included Nathanael coming to Stann Creek with 5 Deaf from our church. It was a good time, abet a long trip (3 hours drive each way). Nathanael interpreted for the women who were able to get reading glasses.  Alma has had a missing ligament from birth. Julie (the PT) and Dr Harrel provided braces, a cane, and exercises that should help reduce her pain. They all got adjusted by the chiropractor, which I think was especially helpful to the hardworking women of the church.
Triaging some people from our church


My ongoing job is to check if exercises are being completed and medicines are helping. It has also given me a reason to visit a little more with people.




Alma gets a blood sugar taken and Misael watches 

We were honored that the team from Kids Konnect helped make Jesus Deaf Church so welcome.  Thank you for making this an "atypical" trip, for allowing us to be a part of your family.
Abigail was thankful for new and old friends! (even photobombers!) :)


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Goodbyes

One thing that they tell you when you learn about how to care for Third Culture kids is they have to say goodbye often, more often than most kids.  Honestly, all of us have had more goodbyes than I feel like I can count.

The interesting concept surrounding goodbyes is I'm not sure we now are aware of how to "do them better". They are still difficult. We still struggle emotionally. There is a line in a song by Owl City:

I'm weird because I hate goodbyes


I really dislike this line. I believe we all hate goodbyes. They are difficult. They bring grief, they require us to find a new normal.

Nathanael and I interpreting. Me Spanish to English, Nathanael English to ASL




About a month ago, Alma's father passed. He had been sick for a while.  She doesn't have a good way to communicate with us. Nathanael pulled on to her road and noticed it was blocked off for a wake.  Some inquiries lead to the conclusion that yes her father had passed.  Nathanael finished picking up people for church. At church, it was decided that we would attend the funeral. We cleaned up and crowded into the van.

The Deaf who came to support Alma


We found a place for the Deaf to sit. Nathanael and I also obtained two chairs so that we could interpret. Alma was able to have the service and burial interpreted.


The burial


A not so significant but still difficult goodbye happened for us last week. We have 4 dogs. One of our dogs' Cookies, passed. She was Selah's dog. The most "rebellious" (she found multiple ways to get out of the gate). She was ever faithful to come back. We found more and more stuffed animals that she must've picked out of other's trash in our yard. Selah buried Cookies with the stuffed animal that appeared to be her favorite. We had to go out in the bush and find a place to put her. Selah decorated a stone block to put her memory on.

Selah makes Cookies gravestone



There are also the unexpected goodbyes that happen often. A short term team comes down, we make a connection and say goodbye. One that is not so difficult is Hipolito. He works across the border in Bacalar, Mexico.  He takes care of a training center there. Pastors from Mexico and Central America train to work with kids in their communities.  He also travels and encourages pastors in their congratulations. We had the privilege of staying at the training center a few days in November.  Zephaniah made a connection with Hipolito, following him around talking to him and playing with him.  Fortunately, Hipolito often comes for events that Koinonia has. Zephaniah says that Hipolito is his best Mexican Friend.

Zephaniah and Hipolito


Yes, I do hate goodbyes. At the same time, I wouldn't change the connections, love, and relationships we have gained.

Hipolito buys sweetbread from a man on a triciclo it reminded me of when I did that in Mexico 20 years ago


Please be praying for Alma's family.  Also, Abigail and I head to Stann Creek district today to work with Kids Konnect. If you would like to pray with us, here is a sign up: 

Thanks so much,

Spring

PS: I am trying to regularly send out prayer emails via email (every two weeks) if you would like to receive them and aren't, you can sign up to get them.

Friday, January 18, 2019

NYE 2018

The New Years eve party was a tradition started by Nancy. It always promises a full house, food and fellowship. This year didn't disappoint.
Nathanael and Misael set up for the party, which involved welding the broken gate



Nathanael had a small devotion.

enjoying the party




We then broke out games and food.

many played Apples to Apples big pictures 


I made chicken chili which is a church favorite. Two instant pots full got eaten!
Chilling outside


The children lit some fireworks.

First family picture of 2019


The church went to the park for the big celebration at 12 am.
In the park at 12 am to ring in the New Year



Nathanael dropped kids off. He arrived home around 2am.  The neighbor got a new sound system which he used. I finally was able to fall asleep at 3:30am with ear plugs and the fan by my head.
Adrene, Selah, Morene and Zion stopped in the park for a picture on their way home


The next day Nathanael drove Moriene and Adrene home. I slept until 11 am. Our friends from Koinonia invited us for lunch. Sandra who came for the party also came. Lunch was a mix of Spanish, ASL and English. What fun. No pork and sauerkraut for us. Dirty rice with chicken was well received!

Dirty rice for the first day of 2019


Apples to Apples pictures really is our "go to" game in situations where there is language mixing.  All 12 people (3 Spanish speaking, one Deaf) were able to enjoy the game together

We enjoyed ringing in the New year.

May your New Year be blessed!

Spring and the Davis family



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Presents, staying up late and lice, Oh My!

This is our third time we have celebrated Christmas in Belize.  That is comforting to us. We kind of know what to expect, we are feeling "settled".  We have developed some traditions and adopted new ones this year.
Koinonia prays for us on a Sunday morning

To begin the holiday season we had a new tradition with friends from Stann Creek, the Groff family. They also serve with EMM, and it is a blessing to be in Belize together.  We occasionally get together. It is difficult at times, since their kids are in school during the week, and we have weekend commitments. We decided to get together for Thanksgiving but were unable to until closer to Christmas vacation.

playing a quiz game with the Groffs



Tim decided to call it Friendsmasgiving. It turned out to be the perfect name.  We had a great time eating a traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner, hanging out and playing board games.  Of course, we enjoyed Bubble Tea, our favorite Orange Walk drink.
Adults snuck out for a childless time of bubble tea and dumplings


Christmas Eve is what Belizeans celebrate as Christmas. It is often brought in with a "bang" ie fireworks.  We stayed up till 2am at Pastor Ed's house, playing games, eating and hanging out.

Dyna and I chatting Christmas eve. Zephaniah eventually fell asleep next to me


Christmas day we spent as a family. The brunch was awesome. For some reason, our dinner was kind of a flop. Everyone survived. ;)
Pastors Ed and Dyna


We had two cookie parties. One with local friends, and one with the Deaf Youth.  At the end of it all I was exhausted. Thankfully Anna came and cleaned/washed the dishes.
a wonderful family sent Oatmeal cream pies. Nathanael says they "made" his Christmas

While we worked on cookies, Nathanael and Misael took the three wheeler to villages. They invited the Deaf in villages to our New Years Eve party.
The van packed full before our first cookie party



the Deaf youth event 



One not so fun thing that happened in our house over Christmas vacation was lice. They were discovered immediately following the Groff visit.  I spent way more time than I wanted to picking out nits.  The good news out of all of this is I've found the best method that works for us! Now to get a nit comb that works! I had to pull every nit out by hand.  If you were wondering, that is why Ni lost his dreds. He is actually fine about it. Since kids here can't wear them to school, there are no boys his age who have them. I was probably more upset about him losing them than he was.

nitpicking takes hours



there go the dreds




Next week I'll share pictures and stories from our Annual New years eve party. Stay tuned!

Love Spring