Saturday, January 13, 2018

New Years Eve Party

One can still celebrate the New Year two weeks later right?


We are thankful for those who were able to come to the party. Some people joined us from Spanish lookout.  Others are Deaf but don't go to church.  Still others live in villages far out, and Nathanael was able to take our trike and pick them up.  Some people brought their whole family.  Some came alone.  Fun was had by all, except perhaps the three children that fell asleep.




Nathanael interpreted Charlie Brown Christmas for those who came. The children handed out pop-corn





Nathanael then had a Jeopardy game involving the past lessons that he taught in Church and Bible study.





Finally we played games and ate snacks





At the last minute we headed to the park to watch fireworks.
Thanks for joining with us this 2018 to support the Deaf in Orange Walk. You are a blessing!


Happy New Year!!




Friday, January 5, 2018

Holiday preparations

Christmas wasn't our big holiday here. If you read my facebook, you would note we were invited to a party Christmas eve. The pastor of the Spanish church we've been attending invited us to his house. We felt like party poopers when we left at 10pm and some people were just arriving. I am not sure how I got on the subject, but I asked people when they were going to bed. One woman who looked about 20 years to my senior stated she didn't know when she is going to bed. I was floored.



Really I am not sure how I missed this part of the culture 2 years ago. I did know that Belizeans tend to celebrate things the night before. I remember Ben Martin being at our house Christmas eve only to be awoken by the 12am fireworks. I just was unaware that the party continues into the early morning hours!

That being said, our Christmas was quite quiet. We had family opening of presents and enjoyed a brunch.  We were thankful. We had sparkling juice. The cinnamon rolls didn't turn out the way I wanted them to (oh well)

Our big holiday was New Years eve. We invited the church, along with Deaf who don't usually come to the house.  I will highlight this next week.  :)


In preparation for the big party, we had two cookie baking sessions. One was the children's friends. It ended up being a jumble of people: our conservative Mennonite (cape dress wearing) friends, mixed with a sweet boy and his mom we meet at the park on Saturday nights.  Our Mennonite friend and I did get offered cheap cosmetic surgery in Cuba, all we have to do is get there!!


The children made cookies. Interspersed with the cookie festivities, they played games and ran outside. I was able to socialize a bit. Everyone had a good time!


The second party involved the youth.  Giving credit where credit is due, Selah did most of the coordinating. She pre-made all of the dough, icing and rolled the cookies. The 3 youth girls helped with decorating. I was left on the clean up they weren't able to accomplish. Man it is crazy how messy icing can be when it is spread everywhere!


Nathanael and Misael helped put up our temporary garage. This served in housing the food and children on New Years.  They also sampled multiple cookies.




May your New Year be blessed!

Look for a newsletter in your mailbox in the next few weeks. If you aren't on our list and want to be, e mail us and we will add you!

Blessings,

Spring

Thursday, December 28, 2017

When God does something, you just sit back to watch

I have to admit I'm a bit hesitant about posting this. We live in the tropics. Palm trees are a part of our daily landscape. Before leaving on our internship, someone made the statement that we were "going on vacation".  I really shy away from sharing anything that would seem that we are on vacation, or that our life is a vacation. Honestly I wouldn't choose this life as a vacation, but perhaps you would.




The reason I am hesitant is we took a break. It was a planned break, planned around our visa renewal. It costs us 37.00$ (bz)to leave the country as a part of Belizean law. This is why we don't frequently leave. Our visas were due to being renewed. Last time we went to Mexico, we were able to avoid our visa renewal fee by leaving and only paying the exit fee.  Unfortunately we did have to pay both fees, but it was worth the try!





Where did we go you ask? Chetumal!  Most Belizeans, especially those more north, go to Chetumal to shop. While it is distinctly Mexican, it does have some vendors from the US.

















 Our first stop was Mcdonalds.  The kids had dreamed about this for 4 months!  I joke that I only let them go to Mcdonalds while in Mexico. We don't while we are in the states, and there aren't any in Belize.  I unfortunately got something. It made me suffer later. Mcdonalds and I don't get along. Of course this was a Mexican Mcdonalds, they had a variety of salsa to put on your food.



Shopping was next on our list. We walked across the parking lot to the mall. The mall! An air conditioned place to walk and peruse the thousands of things available to buy. Not to mention the food court!

After a day of shopping, looking and exploring things in Spanish, we looked for a place to stay. Someone recommended a the hotel behind the mall. Nathanael and I navigated checking in in Spanish.  As they were in the process behind the counter, Nathanael noticed that the woman was gesturing at a cleaning lady behind us.  Nathanael asked if the cleaning lady was Deaf. "Yes" came the answer.


Nathanael conversed with her some. The next day we took her and her friends who work at the hotel out for dinner.  It was a difficult time. There were 4 languages at our table. The children conversed in English. We ordered in Spanish. Nathanael attempted a combination of ASL, and the Deaf taught him some LSM (ligua de sordomudo) the sign language in Mexico.





We were in awe!  We could not have planned to meet these Deaf people. It was simply a thing we stood back and saw God do!

We were able to connect with them via what's app and Facebook. We are thankful for what God is doing and hope that we can see the Deaf again in our next Mexico visit.

Thanks for sharing with us. We pray you have a blessed holiday season!

Spring

Friday, December 22, 2017

Living without Snow

Snow drifting silently, covering everything in its path with freshness; the early morning
calm; Nothing to compete with, just me and God. There is certain quietness after a snow
storm. The world blanketed in white, it is followed by indescribable silence.



At age 13, a paper route was a way that I could earn money. I had to pull myself out of
bed, wrap papers, and carry them door to door. Honestly most days it was my mother
who made sure I was up in the morning. The job required having the papers delivered by
6:30am. I often found myself alone with my thoughts. Post snow storm was one of my
favorite times to deliver the paper.

These moments on my paper route imbedded an idea of what peace should be. In my
imagination, it is a place of tranquility. The demands of the world fall off. I have open
communication with the one who made me. There is specialness about the peace in my
mind, similar to the feeling after a fresh snow.

Reality comes crashing into my imagination. That peace I long for, is it still attainable?
No paper route to follow, I still have dreams (nightmares?) where I can’t remember
which house I must deliver to next. In my dreams I worry that I won’t get my route done
in time…

As my mother grew up, her parents were having trouble with her brother. They had to
make difficult decisions. One night she slipped a paper with this verse beneath their door:

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to
you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

In the midst of their heartache, it was a comfort. About 30 years later, she found herself in a
similar situation. My grandmother had framed the paper that my mom had given them. The
paper was returned improved. She clung to the verse in the midst of the world that was far
from peaceful. She found the peace in the midst of difficulty.

I am an introvert. I long for that place on my paper route. I even entertain thoughts of living
in a land where people wear coats. Currently 75F is chilly. My children sing in the
background as I write instead of eating their lunch.

Just as my mother found peace in the midst, this is what I seek. I am thankful that the peace
he gives doesn’t look like my imagination. He faced greater trials than waking up early and
making sure the right people got the correct paper. He is the One who knows what I face.
Nothing I face surprises him. To me that is a great comfort.

As for my own peace, I have come to believe it isn’t the paper route or the snow that I seek.
It is the One who gives eternal peace. When I cling to anything but him, I lose my peace. I
am thankful that the peace he gives doesn’t require my imagination. He is one who brings
peace in the midst of difficulty; land without snow and all.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Fun in celebrating

We had the pleasure of celebrating with others the past few weeks.  Here are some of the ways we've done that..


As I mentioned on a previous blog post, we take off school and work on Mondays. One of our "regular" stops on these days is the Library. 

Since we are frequent visitors to the library, the children were invited to a Christmas Party at the Library. The children arrived and were ushered into the main area where they watched a movie.  They were handed snacks of pop-corn bags

Following the movie there was a raffle for small presents. The plan had been to decorate cookies and eat outside. Unfortunately, the day was found to be chilly (by Belizean standards) with an occasional spritz.  They moved the tables inside for festivities

Instead the children decorated a cookie inside.

They were also given lunch of rice and beans, stew chicken and soda.

Somehow three of my 4 children ended up with Coke!! 


They really did enjoy themselves!

The next celebration starts with breaking a window. If you haven't read our post about meeting Levi, feel free to do so.  :) 


We are thankful for Levi and his family. It was an honor to be at his wedding celebration and to meet his wife.  Zion was especially excited since it was the first time she has been to a wedding. 

Of course the children enjoyed meeting the puppies that were at the church! 



The final celbration was at a children's club. Selah, Zion and Zephaniah have enjoyed being a part of Koinonia's children's ministry.  They have meetings every Saturday. You can earn tickets by memorizing verses, attendance, and bringing your Bible.  


Since the children had only attended one other time, they were 'gifted" some extra tickets.

They were able to worship with all of the children


And then they stood in line for an ideal. (a popsicle in a bag)
Personal space here is a different concept than in the states. The children take it in stride. 

They then played carnival games with their tickets and won prizes. 


We have really enjoyed celebrating and learning more about culture.  May you all have a blessed Christmas!  

Coming next week the way God blessed and surprised us recently!

Spring




Friday, December 15, 2017

An adventure in Spelling

Nathanael was contacted by the ministry of education. They asked if he would help a girl in Orange Walk study for the Spelling Bee. Every year Belize has a spelling bee for the Deaf and hard of hearing.  Two years ago Nathanael helped make the video and was present at the event.


Morene had a crowd chearing her on! 






This year he was asked to help train a local girl. She goes to the same school that Nancy used to teach at.  Morene has a sister who is one year younger. They attend the same class together. Nancy also spent time working individually with her over the years. In 2013, Chelsea came and worked with Morene and Sulmi. 





Morene had a disadvantage in that the other students received the study video 2 months prior.


Misael and Kristel also came as a school field trip

Nathanael did his best, and Morene studied hard!






We were all proud of how well she did.

Nathanael says next year we will make sure to have the video ahead of time.  He thinks she'll win or at least place if she's given enough time to study!

Thanks for sharing this journey with us

Spring

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Hit

on the head..


quite literally...


I had one of my biggest scares recently. I say recently because there was this night in Mexico... I will refrain from the details because I haven't told my mother about that night. If you want to know the Mexico details ask me in person.



Our most recent scare in Belize had to do with Zephaniah. He has this crazy habit of bed jumping. I don't just mean jumping on beds, but jumping around, in, on top of, off the floor craziness.



This past Wednesday he was all into his craziness (and I had told him to stop several times. When I heard the hollow smack of head hitting pavement. (all of our floors are cement and tile) Zion ran for some ice.  Zephaniah just lay there for a while.



He was responsive but groggy. A similar thing happened to Zion 2 years ago when she flew over the handles of her bike. As a medical person, I realize that there isn't much to do for a minor head injury. He felt so bad he wouldn't even allow himself to be helped to lie on a bed.




I had scheduled a skype call to a friend. He stayed next to me.  I was okay with his progress until he started throwing up. I admittedly was in the call, Zion had to tell me that he not only threw up but was too tired to exit the bathroom. (He lay on the floor with a pillow near the toilet).





I have been a nurse for 14 years. I am aware that I'm always a mom first. When I am concerned I call my mom. She agreed I should take him to the hospital.  We packed up Zephaniah, Zion and locked up the house.




The doctor who saw him was also concerned.  She drew blood, and started an IV after getting the nurse's vital signs. Although they have a CT scanner, she felt that observing him was the most important. If he continued to show signs of brain injury, she would get a CT scan.





I have been reading the book Radium girls (about the women in the 1900's who got cancer and died from painting radium on watches) I was fine with waiting and reducing his exposure to radiation.

When we entered the hospital, I had to carry Zephaniah. he was pale and nauseous.

The doctor had him stay for 4 hours and gave him IV fluids. Zephaniah got progressively better, and more bored! At one point, he decided he wanted to know how to raise and lower the bed.



As he got better I could tell he was okay.  It wasn't till we got home that the reality of what happened hit me. It really could have been much worse. I had also been scared about the level of care that would be provided to him. I was very impressed with the medical staff.

Fear is a funny thing. It causes us to react in ways we shouldn't, to try to protect ourselves, or place our trust in something other than God. For me it was a moment I hadn't considered much. God did protect Zephaniah. I was reacting to the idea that he might not be "safe" here as he is in Pennsylvania.

The truth is he might not be. I have to learn to trust who God is and how much he loves us, no matter what the circumstances. It was good to be thinking and praying about what this looks like in our daily walk with him.

Have a good week,

Spring