Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Typical Sunday

I have mentioned in one of our letters that Nathanael desired to keep things the same as Nancy had done them. He followed the same order of service, van pick up schedule, and traditions.
A typical Sunday morning. Apparently I was ignoring Nathanael taking pictures

In the beginning, the words were grating. We often heard "that's not how Nancy did it" . At first it felt like an insult. Then we recognised they were just stating facts.  We came to the realization that no matter how much we followed what she did, we are not her. She left after 12 years and she left a legacy. We are thankful to be here, but by default we are different.
A picture from 2 and 1/2 years ago Nancy prepping for the Christmas service

That being said, the order of service is basically the same. Let me take a step back though.  Church starts on Tuesday.  Nathanael works at his sermon prep.  He puts a lot of work into making it visual, and applicable.
Nathanael 2 years ago doing a drama

When we first arrived, he was unsure of where to begin. How should his sermons focus be determined?  As he prayed about it, and worked here, he felt God's tug to start with basics. He is currently preaching through the Bible. He uses the book The Story as a guide.
Drama day at church, we do these once a month

He spends time both reading the stories in the Bible a few times, listening to them, and watching them interpreted into ASL.  He then makes a powerpoint presentation.  He uses many pictures to illustrate and help explain.
People standing to worship

So what happens on a Sunday?  Saturday night, Nathanael messages every Deaf person in the area to ask if they will be attending church.  This helps him plan out his pick up route.  He preps the Tang that we have for break time, and loads the van

Misael's 18th Birthday, and him getting sung to

I know it's taken me half a blog post to actually get to Sunday morning.

This is what our Sunday morning starts with:
At 8am.
I know I know that's not early for most of you. Really, it shouldn't feel early for us. I have found that I need more sleep living overseas. That and I just don't sleep well. (which is a totally different blog post)

I really considered doing a time lapse video of what the running around looks like then I thought better of it. Really most of you know what running around on Sunday looks like. If you aren't sure: 

At 9am, we clamor into the van. Nathanael drives to church.  Sometimes Misael is there, sometimes he isn't. He helps us prepare the area for church.  Nathanael usually leaves 1 or 2 children with me and Misael at church. I do some more cleaning. Misael usually gets some tacos for breakfast.

Selah signing a worship song

After making his rounds picking people up, Nathanael arrives at church around 10am.  People settle in . They pick songs for worship.
Each person who desires shares a song during worship. Really we don't sing we only sign. The exception being "My God is so Big" which seems to be a current favorite of the youngest members.

A few people doing worship on Sunday

After worship there is a sharing time. We are able to share what God has done during the week.  
There is a break where everyone enjoys tang. Thankfully there are many different types of tang here.
Just a sampling of the Tang we can get here

Finally, Nathanael preaches.

Nathanael preaching

The children are dismissed, I take over Sunday school. In Sunday school there is a lot of play. Recently I've been going through the Jesus Story Book Bible. We try to do an activity or craft related to the story we are studying. Many of the kids don't get read to at home. I relish the opportunity to do this for them.

Reading from my phone and showing the kids pictures

After his Sermon, Nathanael gathers the congregation in a circle. They all pray to close the service. He has started having people pray for those who were unable to come. 

Before going home, we all snack on chips. We clean up the church, and leave. The drop off happens in reverse. We arrive home.

I hope you enjoyed this small picture of what a typical Sunday looks like for us

Friday, August 3, 2018

A couple of visits

to the hospital.

3 to be exact in one week period.

It actually started about 3 weeks ago. Selah seemed to have the same illness as I did when my sister was visiting. I texted about 5 people, asking them to pray. She stayed home from our church, but went to Spanish church that evening. I forced her to take disgusting re-hydration salts.  She did well, and had about a week of recovery.
(Selah taking a glamour selfie after curling her hair overnight)

I was thinking to myself that perhaps I jumped the gun with her. (or the better alternative, God answered people's prayers)
Abigail getting an IV

When Abigail started to feel sick, I was more laid back. I watched her. After three days though, I was convinced she was in need of some hydration.

She is surprised it feels cold

At the same time, Zephaniah also developed the same sickness. His fever was 104, and we (yes me as well as I had to help him) had a pretty terrible night.
Zephaniah and I after having been up most of the night

The doctor wrote a prescription for Zephaniah, and sent him on his way.
Waiting in the hospital

He felt Abigail was dehydrated, started an Iv, and kept her overnight. Since it was her first time she had a tinge of excitement. She also enjoyed sleeping in a room with AC. She felt like she was in the lap of luxury!
Abigail in her room, watching TV! She enjoyed it! 

She came home and has fully recovered.

She learned to navigate with the IV pole

Of course Zephaniah could not be left out. He was playing and fell. I heard Nathanael yell "Spring" .  (Apparently the correct thing to do when one has a medical urgency is to yell for the nurse). Blood was everywhere!
Zephaniah's cut

Fortunately Nathanael got to the public hospital at at a time of little attendance.
All stitched up! 

 He was in and out in 45 min!  Three stitches completed and hopefully the end to our medical needs for a while! Not to mention it was the public hospital so the visit was totally free, what a blessing

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Thank you for volunteering to stay

When Selah used this phrase last week, I told her she'd written a blog post for me. How blessed I am to have inspiration come from multiple venues!

Walking in Orange walk

Koinonia, the Spanish church we attend Sunday afternoons (after having Deaf church) has a missions team. The team was sent out this past Wednesday and Thursday. Koinonia was a church started from humble beginnings.  They began as a ministry exclusively for children. If we are honest they are pretty unique in that realm here in Orange Walk.  This was one of the huge draws for us.  As more children came, their parents wanted to come to church there.  The church began to meet.
The playground outside of the library

Pastor Ed's passion is to see children change the world.  They do children's ministry. Another part of their calling is to train others to reach children. They do several trainings a year at the church. 
Praying for the children happens every Sunday at Koinonia

The mission trip involves them going to countries in Central America and training the churches to do children's ministry.

I was asked to pray for the Pastoral family at Koinonia one Sunday

Selah's comment was about the people in Koinonia who stayed.  She thought they should be thanked. Staying is a difficult job.  There was a blog post I once read which talked about the friends and family left behind. They are the ones who must continue, who must love from afar, who get the "unexciting" parts of the ministry. 
A rousing game of bellz after stomachs full of fry jack

We want to thank you for being the ones who volunteer to stay. We could not do what we do without you. 
our welcome home in 2016 thanks to our MST

Staying is a difficult job!  Thank you for the support you give. Thank you for your prayers.
Zion's job was hanging out the wash yesterday

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Relationships are key

About a month ago we noticed something cool. A woman who had suddenly stopped coming to church showed up.

the most recent movie night for "fun Friday"

Nathanael texts all of the Deaf people in the area each Friday/Sunday and asks if they will be coming. ( He has to plan his pick up route). Each time he would text, there would be an excuse about why she would not be there.
the youth wednesday

When she came, we really were not sure what prompted her to arrive.

If you only knew how full this van was.. and how HOT it was in the back!! 

During sharing time, we heard the story. Apparently there was a rift between two women in the church. One had decided not to attend. Both had gone to Carmelita (a local town) to the Deaf outreach that happens every 6 weeks.  The women had a chance to reconcile. I am so thankful for what God did in this situation.
A drama day at church, talking about the life of Ahab and Elijah

We have also seen this in the lives of two of the teens. They refused to both be at church at the same time. We saw the conflict but were unsure of how to be involved. Nathanael took time to pray for them and the situation.
Welcome to Jesus Deaf Church! 

The next week they were talking and sitting next to each other.
A wednesday Men's night, as they prep food for themselves

Gossip is a big issue in our church. It has damaged many relationships. It keeps some people away from church.

The ladies enjoy a rousing game of Apples to Apples Pictures on a wednesday night

It is awesome when I can report things of the opposite nature have occured!

Friday night Bible Study with the Orbans 

Please keep relationships in your prayers as you think about us. We are so thankful for your prayers!

You should be receiving a paper copy of our newsletter in your mailboxes within the next week. If  you haven't, and would like a copy feel free to contact us.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

more visitors

We arrived to the airport early this time. Two times in a row, we arrived on time and the flights were early. Unfortunately for us, the plane was delayed, exiting delayed (a medical emergency) and there were issues with needing our exact address. Por fin, Joel and Annette entered Belize!

Joel and Annette on the plane here

Of course they (accidentally) taunted us with stories of eating Chick A Fila in the airport in Miami. Our only fast(ish) food around here would be Orange Walk Tacos.

we stopped to eat before seeing the waterfalls

It was a nice break to have both Joel and Annette here.  Nathanael and I were able to have some time with Joel as well as a date far away from the kids.

Joel preaches at Koinonia, Pastor Ed interprets

We really enjoyed visiting old places, showing them new ones, and exploring a waterfall we hadn't ever been to before.
Joel at Laminai

We are so thankful for the adventure we had with them
The very full van after church on Sunday 

It is always nice to experience our world through someone else's eyes.

Church on Sunday

Monday, July 2, 2018

When the tears fall, and when they don't

After what felt like the fastest 10 days ever, we drove Summer and Isaac to the airport. Kids ran through the hall, we delayed the inevitable. Hugs, thank you's and tears later, we piled into van(which now felt vacant).
This is actually Abigail getting into the van for her youth camp

Listlessly, we visited the grocery store. We don't often end up in Belize City and the grocery store offers more variety than we find in Orange Walk. Me? I ended up weeping in the flour isle. The trip to the Lebanese restaurant afterwards didn't go much better. Thankfully there is grace for our messy middle.
Our first experience with Lebonese food! So yummy! 

What is our messy middle?  We have entered a period of newness in Belize.  This is the first summer we've spent in Belize. Although we are approaching 2 years in country, we had gone back to Pa two years ago in June (2016). Summer's family cemented that fact for us. We weren't only saying goodbye to them, we were saying goodbye to Pa, for a while yet.

Taking the "littles" to children's ministry on a Saturday Afternoon

At the EMM Central American retreat, we had some sessions about grief. It was good to talk about.  It was good to label. For me I could look at my life and see the places where I hadn't grieved, or give myself the place to grieve.

A game some of the TCK's played with a tire while on our Central American retreat

As a family there are traditions we've held to. We do certain things during the summer that we are unable to do this year. (Hopewell camp, I work more and enjoy it ;) , Day Camp Live, CEF Good News camp, extra time with friends, Swimming in Mamaw's pool, and Family reunions)Grieving looks like feeling sad that we can't participate.  It looks like: summer like weather all year. It means I've been struggling with what I feel like my kids are missing out on.

God has been faithful to us

I am thankful to be living in Belize, with my family, with "less to do"; allowing us to focus more on "us".  I am thankful for the "organic" way my kids are learning language. (How else does that happen when you are learning 2 languages at the same time and not being immersed in either) Honestly I am often surprised at the words they've learned or signs they produce. It's an amazing process. I am grateful for the fact that my kids are third culture kids. They appreciate culture, differences, and culture in a way I couldn't fathom at their ages.

Being third culture kids also means they are saying goodbye...often.  Just this week we had a VBS/youth camp at the Spanish Church we attend. Abigail was crying about saying goodbye. I struggled in my mind (it was 4 days). 

I was reminded of my word of the year" engage"  I really am attempting to engage with those around me. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing. I am choosing to both engage in the messiness, the missing Pennsylvania, the heat, and the peace we have in walking into the calling our family currently has.

Thank you for walking with us on this journey


PS I am not sure if the term "messy middle" is copy-written, but I got it from this blog. It is a great read, and this summer she has an excellent reading challenge!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Spring's sister visits

a visit to Maya Ruins (Altun Ha)

The busyness continued. I know you thought the Mexico trip was "it". I actually arrived in Belize Sunday night (at about 12 am). Monday at 11am, we picked up Summer from the airport. It felt like a wirlwind of emotions. How awesome to see my family after 9 months!  It took much emailing, planning, and messaging on all of our parts to make this happen. It was nice to hug the person instead of staring at a computer screen.
We had to get this picture! Emily, Summer, Mackenzie, and Isaac

Summer and Isaac and their daughters Emily and Mackenzie spent 10 lovely days with us.
We were able to do toursity things with them. They even funded us to go on vacation with them to one of the islands.
Snorkling while on the island, seeing nurse sharks

We spend a lot of time just enjoying catching up. We talked and supervised children.  We learned a lot more than one can learn from a one hour Skype chat.

A visit to the place that serves Bubble Tea, and Monopoly Deal

I contracted a stomach bug. It was probably the sickest I have been... in a long time. I went to the local clinic for fluids. Fortunately since I live here, lying around felt like vacation enough.(and I did end up having to lay around a lot)

2 hours, 3 liters of fluids, and I felt much better! 

Summer's family got to do weekend activities with us. It was nice to let them into a little part of our world.

Friends had ALL of us over Sunday night. We enjoyed Fry Jack and fellowship

We are so thankful to have had my family visit. It was so difficult to say goodbye! (more on that next blog) We hope they enjoyed the "taste" of our lives.

A visit to an Iguana sanctuary. 

Nathanael took on two iguanas at the same time

Hope you all have a lovely week,