Friday, November 16, 2018

a different Sunday


There isn't anything to review in Bible Study this week.  Why you ask? Nathanael didn't preach. We weren't even at the church building.


We were privileged to be a part of the communal worship service of Belize Evangelical Mennonite Conference.  Nathanael interpreted for the service. They provided an interpreter (from Spanish to English) and he interpreted into ASL.  They didn't have anyone for worship, so I did my best. I am by no means a trained interpreter. That and being in Belize makes me lazy. Any words I don't know in Spanish, I add the English instead; and I am fully understood.


We were also very close to the speakers, the base booming in our ears(not to mention shaking my entire body!) It was a great place to be for the Deaf, they could feel the music!


The preacher was actually originally from Guatemala. Interestingly Nathanael and I had a conversation with him after the event. I told him that I can understand his Spanish better than the Belizeans. He pointed out that it's similar to Texan's Spanish, this mix of Spanish and English, using words that aren't actually words in either language. (Ie an English word with a Spanish ending)  Here we also have a Caribbean/ Kreol accent.


The interpreter who helped during the service actually had more trouble with the speaker, probably because of the accent.


It was a good experience for all involved.



Thursday, November 8, 2018

October Kids Konnect trip

"I am the worst patient/mother of a patient ever," was the mantra running through my mind this past week at the Kids Konnect medical trip.
the very full bus after pickup at the airport


Zion and I were blessed to be a part of the largest and most diverse (amount of states involved) medical team.

This has nothing to do with Kids Konnect, Zion just wanted a pic of her helping carry groceries


Of course it threw a wrench in my "plans" as I know what to do in the triage area.  I realized that there were enough qualified nurses.  I ended up being more of a circulatory person. I had the privilege of  to interpreting, give out instructions in the pharmacy, and just go where the need was.  One thing they changed this time that I really valued was having a constant prayer person.  I had the privilege of doing this several times throughout the 3 days.
The table set up for triage



I was asked to help find a plan for a family. I talked with Dr Ed because I was certain that the issue had been addressed with the family in the past. I felt like it was non-compliance. He gave me a gentle reminder that has stuck with me. He said sometimes people are just trying to make it through the day. They can't add one more thing.
Zion found this guy on the toilet paper


Although I can't say I was in their particular situation, I have felt like I am just trying to slog through my day.    Honestly I know that my situations have probably been easier.


The lovely view from St Augustine school


While in the pharmacy, I explained over and over to patients that it is very important for to take all of the antibiotics. One shouldn't stop when they feel better. Yet I have done that with my own children. (out of forgetfulness, not because they felt better).  We don't know where someone has been or what their current journey is.
Zion helps set up the tables for triage


It was also a reminder to me today as I read Liturgy of the Ordinary. This week the focus is on work. You could be in Belize doing wash, or in the US. (or have one of many other important jobs). We are called to bring Him with us. To allow him to work through us, to find a place with Him in our daily tasks.
Sherri reads to the kids



Zion takes a turn reading


May you be spurred on towards holiness in the everyday tasks of your lives,

Spring

“It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes” 
― Oswald Chambers

Friday, November 2, 2018

Everyday life

I have done several posts with reference to how life is different in Belize. I actually am working on one that talks about the smells that entice and turn up our noses, how we wish we could share that with you!

Family game night




The "different" is not what I am focusing on today.  I had the privilege of reading All the News that's Fit to Tell, and How to tell it.  by Amy Young of the Messy Middle blog. It was a help to me, and I intend to continue to return to it. I believe I have a lot I can improve on in both the blog and newsletters I write.  Amy explain the lengths she had to go through to wash her clothes.  I fully understand as I had similar experiences in Mexico 20 years ago.  I won't describe it as she does a much better job than I do. I will, however, leave you with a video.  Although this was taken in the US, and the Youtuber makes it sound cool, imagine doing your wash this way every day. ( or doing wash for 6 people)



Amy uses her washer woes to explain that the majority of what we do, even on missions is mundane, everyday activities.  After posting a picture of Zion hanging wash for a chore one day a  friend serving in Honduras had a response. Her mission Org told them 80% of what one does on the field is "life". As a part of the Velvet ashes book club, I have been reading Liturgy of the Ordinary: Scared Practices in Everyday Life.   Even in this book, the first chapter talks about a man in India who found that the majority of his time was things he would be doing at "home".

Zion and Ni at a park while we wait to see if the used washer will work. (this one didn't work)

To me this is a relief. I recognize that I am pretty normal. I make dinner, wash clothes, homeschool our kids, remind them (constantly ) to do chores, wash dishes, pick up discarded items, ect. Yet in this ordinary, we can meet with a Sacred God. What a privilege we have!

We went to the bush with the dogs to have a picnic, and this happened. It is rainy season

I thought this week it would be good just to share some photos of our everyday life.

one of the supermarkets we frequent always has a "photo booth".  This one was to mark the 3rd anniversary



Zion and Zephaniah do a mural for art 


Zion and Zephaniah ride their bikes to go to the workout place with me. Our sky almost always looks this amazing! 


Abigail works on math


By the way in the process of writing the blog, our washer broke. It took a process to find someone to look at it. We were told it's broken and would cost 600$ to fix, or 700-900$ for a new one. This past Monday we went on an excursion. Tuesday we finally had a washer. I discovered in the process that the Shipyard Mennonites aren't allowed to have a circuit board in their washers. We seriously considered getting one of theirs. I had to face the reality of the type of person I am. If I had that type of washer, I would be dumping gallons of water on the floor. I did it in Mexico 20 years ago when I didn't have a home of my own or children. We finally found a used one from the US. We are hoping and praying it holds up for years to come!

Thanks for joining on this amazing yet ordinary journey with us,

Spring

One of our dogs had 8 puppies. We kept one and gave 7 away. It was fun but I don't want to do that again! 



Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cultural mixing

Yesterday I spent an agonizing 15 minutes listening to a woman in the park complain about Belize. She doesn't like the culture, the people are rude, and it's dirty here.



At home, Nathanael and I decompressed from this event. We have met with others like her. Untrained expats who are in culture shock. It isn't a pretty sight. They become bitter and ineffective. The current person talking to me was also from a distinctly "filtered media" country. That fact became apparent in her complaints about Belize vs her beliefs about her own country. If anything it was clarifying moment for me.
Nathanael hangs the Belizean flag on the back of our van to celebrate Belizean Independence day

I am thankful not to be in that place with her.  I am thankful that EMM prepared us for crossing cultures. (We highly recommend the book Foreign to Familiar) I don't think we always get right. There are times we experience culture shock. There are times we are bitter, dislike culture, or feel the sting of relationships we navigated wrongly.

Zion at church with one of her friends


It is also a decision making journey for us. We are grateful to have our home as a neutral ground.  We can decide what the culture in our home looks like. What in the culture do we enjoy and put into practice? What things do we disagree with? What things are not bad or good, just different?


Selah poses at the photo booth of our local supermarket


In the same breath, I realize I can't take my culture out of me. When we were celebrating Belize Independence day at Koinonia, the Pastor's wife spoke. She reminded us that even though she has lived in Belize for 20 years, she can't take the Guatemalan blood out of her.
praying at Koinonia



All of the cultures represented at Koinonia 




I am becoming aware that this is the same in the Deaf culture we share with those around us. We work with them, we visit them, but you can't take the "hearing" out of us. It's a delicate balance.
Zephaniah, Zion and Misael play Master Mind

What am I trying to communicate? Two years into this and we are still learning. We are still growing. As a cold culture family in a warm culture climate, we still experience culture shock on occasion.
Abigail entertaining children

Mid-September we celebrated all countries that attend Koinonia. It was a nice thing to stand in front and recognize that through it all, we are still from our passport country. We are also distinctly experiencing and falling in love with Belizean culture. Selah won't eat Mexican tacos. She prefers Orange Walk ones.
Abigail and a friend at Koinonia


We are still in a process. A lovely, hard, fun, sad process. We are growing. We are thankful.


Family photo with Belizean (and American) colors represented. Lucky us they are the same! 



Thanks for being with us on this Belizean, United States, mixed culture journey.


Spring







Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The in-between

Is there anything else that happens ministry wise in Orange Walk? I made a comment on the video we made for Hopewell. I mentioned something about bonbons.

Actually, I am not sure if they even sell bonbons in Belize.

There are a number of things that happen that don't fit into a specific category (or day).  We are here to do Deaf ministry.  Nathanael is blessed to have been an interpreter prior to coming to Belize.

Just as in the USA, Nathanael walks with the Deaf here as they interact in the community.



He has gone to the hospital with sick people.  He is in the process of helping one woman who has a possible gallbladder issue.






At the beginning of our second term we had a guy from across the street stop by. He is a policeman and had a Deaf man in custody. Since then Nathanael has gotten the word out. He brings his card with his Belizean number to every visit he makes to the police station. He has visited the police office for different issues 10 or more times.





The third thing Nathanael does is work with the ministry of education.  He has done it less this year than our first term. The main reason for this is he is currently the head pastor of Jesus Deaf Church. While we were on our internship with Nancy in 2015-2016, she held the primary responsibility. Since our return, that duty has been passed to us. He has however worked several times at Saint Peters with Morene. He helped her study for the spelling bee, he also tutored her at the end of the school year.




He interpreted for some of the students exams in Cayo.





He also lead some workshops in 3 towns in August for teachers. (similar to continuing education classes in the US)




We are thankful that the "other" things that add variety to our life. We don't always know when they will happen. We are grateful that we are allowed to be a part of this. Thank you for helping us in this journey, for being a bigger part of what God is doing in Belize.

Spring

Monday, October 1, 2018

A place of grief

There have been some people in our lives lately who are grieving. I have come to recognize that different people grieve in different ways. There are also stages of grief.

This time our first stage came as a shock.  Nathanael received news that Sharee Bennett had passed away. He met her on our first term in Belize. He invited her to church.  Since then she came to Orange Walk many times. She hung out with friends and went to church.
A Selfie of Sharee


Nathanael also was helping in 2016 in the process of getting her medication for goiter. The trouble was in patient compliance.  It wasn't until after we had returned to the US, that she had received the medication she needed.  She went back and forth between compliance and no-compliance.  It was a health issue that eventually lead to her passing.
Sharee and Angelica



Although she had had issues off and on we didn't realize she was so close to death. It came as a shock to the community.
People at Jesus Deaf Church playing Apples to Apples


Nathanel had to navigate with her family, and the Deaf ministry that goes to Belize City every other week.  Her family choose the church where Sharee was married to have the funeral.

We brought the people from our church who were able to come. The van was full. It was difficult since her funeral was on a Thursday for some. The people who have jobs weren't able to come. Nathanael instead allowed some time for people to share on Sunday during church. It was nice for me to hear other's stories of how Sharee impacted them.
The last time Sharee was at church


Thanks for joining us in grieving and remembering Sharee.

Scenes from the funeral



the "Deaf section" of the funeral




Nathanael interpreted the funeral


This happened this past Sunday. We are still reeling from it's impact.  (that and Nathanael and I discussed where in Belize can we find smoke detectors) Zion used to occasionally play with the 10 year old girl when she went with Nathanael to help out at Saint Peter's school. Zion is struggling with the loss of someone her own age.


Thank you for praying with us.