Saturday, August 8, 2020

Out with the old..

My blog post from a few weeks ago alluded to the fact that I wanted to record the "little" things.  This will be a "little things" type of post.

Sunday morning a month ago, Nathanael took the picture while Marta was praying


Our van:

Was a blessing given to us the summer of 2017. It has a wonderful engine and as most of you are aware, the transmission was rebuilt on our way to Belize in August 2017. It is steadfast! It also gets terrible gas mileage.  The gas mileage as well as the added expenditure of fuel here makes driving less than economic. Nathanael considered ways to adjust this. 

Misael driving the van full of people on our return trip from Spanish Lookout

One way that people combat the price of gas here is to convert their vehicles to use propane. While it actually makes your miles per gallon worse, the cost of propane is less than half the price of gasoline; thus making a worthwhile endeavor. We had been considering it for years. The monthly trips to Spanish Lookout were what helped make a decision.


Fountain of Life church always serves us lunch! What a blessing. 





Nathanael had a welder friend make a frame for the tank, as well as add a luggage rack.  He then took it to Shipyard. It took less than a day for the conversion.  Nathanael figured out the math. In three months we will have save the amount it cost to have the conversion done: a win/win.


A back view of the van 




The second new thing we got were chairs. When we were sharing a church, the benches worked for church well. Since moving the church, we've been forced to scavenge for chairs.  We just had enough and some Fridays the kids didn't have chairs. Pair that with the fact that some of the chairs here are 15 + years old and weren't well made in the first place; meant that there were times chairs broke. (while occupied) 



Unpacking the chairs



The chairs won't make up for any savings in a matter of months. That being said we are so grateful to have reliable, plentiful seating.


a time of prayer (you can see our palanthera of chairs behind people) 


We are so thankful for the ways that God provided for these needs!


Misael unboxed the chairs

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Baptisms

It took months of waiting. We had the idea we would do baptisms and our traditional Easter visit the lagoon.
(Elmer leading church this past Sunday)

As a side note, if you wanted to understand why we go to the Lagoon for Easter, you can look at this post.  

Belizeans go swimming for Easter (it is the hottest time of the year) and we stopped fighting for attendance. Going swimming, fellowship and celebration (with an occasional egg hunt) are the way we remember our Savior.



Waiting was a piece of the story due to being quarantined during Resurrection Sunday.
As a family, we had a celebration that we hadn't had in years.

The church was able to bring our dream to fruition the first week of June.

Without further ado, here is the video. (Please be kind I am just beginning to learn how to edit. I had no idea this would take so much work for me!)


Friday, July 3, 2020

It's the little things

I admit it. I have gotten out of the habit of writing blog-posts.

Since arriving in 2015, our schedule has changed multiple times, my responsibility increased, and the kids got older.


Selah drew this


As I was thinking about the blog, I recognized that it is somewhat of a record. It is the place we share what is going on. When I am writing a newsletter, or sharing a Facebook post, I have to share "big" events. The little things get lost in the muddle. It is the little things I miss. A victory at church, a child accomplishment, Jesus teaching me something.

Nathanael and Elmer working through the Purple Book (a discipleship tool) 


I am making an attempt to veer myself back on schedule. My goal is biweekly posts. If you want to stop and see some of the little things that make up our daily life here at Jesus Deaf Church.
my class last night at Koinonia was all kids. So fun :) 





Next week I will be sharing the video and a short blog post about the baptisms that happened last month.  Keep your eyes peeled!


Our last rest day we drove to the ocean (about 45 min away) and spent time by the waves


Some little and not so little things that have happened in the past few months:



  • Kids finished school
  • Abigail is now officially taller than Spring(by an inch)
  • Spring has restarted in person classes both with Deaf and hearing
  • We are able to meet as a church
  • We painted Abigail's room in an astronomy theme
  • We have family church weekly which stared during COVID
  • Things opened up internally and we spent time outside more
  • The Vida 220 Belize team came for a visit before leaving the country
  • we are able to attend Koinonia with our friends for Father's day
  • we got a puppy
  • Abigail turned 16
  • We celebrated her birthday and our friend's graduation together this past weekend

Father's day Fellowship meal enjoyed with friends




Thursday, June 18, 2020

Grief

My parents were never stoic. Actually I often accuse Nathanael of "not caring" because I grew up with a dad who was willing to cry.  In the same moment I am not sure I learned the "art" of grieving. I didn't understand until adulthood that this is something that comes and goes in waves.

In the face of Covid19, I have watched people face things that were unexpected. Grocery store shelves empty, events cancelled, distancing from people they love; all unimagined effects from a pandemic.  People on the front lines work, exhausted.

In the beginning, I was "okay" with the happenings. I am an introvert. It didn't feel "stuck".  We had to adapt. I finally agreed to offer Revelation Wellness classes online. My kids found minecraft. Nathanael takes time to meticulously interpret the news as it comes out and offer devotions.

Then I hit a wall. I saw people on Facebook complaining about having to look at their parents through a window, when the last time I saw my parents was November 26, Nathanael's this July.  This week we couldn't find yogurt. I gave up after 2 stores because it wasn't worth my time looking for something I wasn't sure I could not find.

What is my point? I was hitting a grieving wall. As a family, we have different times that we realize what we have given up; and we deeply miss it. Does this mean we need to leave the field? Is it wrong to feel a loss at these? No and most definitely not.


It is also okay for you to be sad that you can see your parents but not hug them. I can't imagine missing high school graduation.



Today if you need to grieve, give yourself the space to do so. Don't stay in that space complaining. Ask Jesus into that place, see how he comforts  you and what he shows you.

This past Friday my grandfather breathed his last breath on earth. Today I honor him by grieving, and reminding you that you have the right (and perhaps need) to grieve as well.


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Celebrating our Savior

This Resurrection day was different than any we've had yet. Usually we are returning from Guatemala (and our Annual retreat), and gearing up for our time at the lagoon.



This year brought none of that.  Nathanael asked me what we usually have for Easter dinner. We don't usually have Easter dinner! (Our usual is lunch of rice and beans with church at the lagoon).









Thursday night we had a Passover Seder. (again something we haven't done in years). It was a good way to bring our hearts to remembrance with soberness. I love seeing the Seder through the eyes of Jesus!



Sunday dawned. I enjoyed 3 different online services. It was nice to commune with others online. Nathanael joined in as well for parts of it.




















As a family we've been doing church together. When I was a child, vacation meant tenting through the US. Sunday's meant we compiled a service as a family. Prior to the pandemic, I don't remember family worship. (we may have, I just don't have the best memory).  This point of connection as a family, and sharing has been very meaningful to me. I am thankful that we were pushed into this.
























We were able to have family church, followed by an egg hunt and dying eggs. I was so excited. I saved silk ties from a few thrift shops in the US to attempt to dye eggs that way. They didn't turn out as pretty as I imagined.  I hope next year we can do this with friends!



















Thanks for sharing with us in this celebration of our Savior and his Resurrection. In the words of Andrew Peterson, this is something we have the privilege of celebrating all year!




Saturday, April 18, 2020

A time to celebrate

Amid the Chaos that has become common-place, It seemed appropriate to shed some light on more happy subjects.




While there is a nice little "ditty" in the newsletter, I wanted to give you a bigger picture of Elmer and Elizanie's wedding.  



After returning from furlough to Elizanie giving birth to Brieany; Nathanael, Elizanie and Elmer talked about making their relationship permanent.  It may look simple on paper but this wasn't the case in real life. They had to meet and discuss commitment. They worked through questions for Christian couples prior to marriage.  Finally they chose the date of Feb 8.




Koinonia gracefully allowed us to use the building. A wonderful woman, Eve helped Nathanael and Elmer decorate.  A couple from Grace Mennonite gave some money to Elizanie and Elmer for their wedding.  Selah made (one of) the wedding cakes.  



The ceremony was lovely. It was Nathanael's first wedding to officiate. Mrs Mesh interpreted from ASL into Spanish, an symbol of the multilingual culture we have the privileged of being a part of.



For their honeymoon, Elmer and Elizanie were nervous about leaving Brieany. Instead they stayed overnight in Orange Walk, visited her and took day trips.  Where did Brieany stay  you ask? At our house, more specifically in Nathanael's and my bed. She slept fine. She did wake a bit early. It was me, nervous about a baby in bed with me; that settled into a fitful sleep.  I was delighted to send her home after 3 days.  



As a side note, we discovered that the cheap diapers they had been using don't hold up at night.  I asked Elizanie what she does and she told me she puts plastic on the bed.  That day I went out and got some Huggies night diapers.  I may not have slept better but I wasn't sleeping in urine!  We have been giving them night diapers as they come to church. 



There was some non-wedding related stress. I was changing for the wedding and placed my glasses on the window ledge in the bathroom at Koinonia. I released my glasses and immediately realized my error. I had actually deposited the glasses into a hole in the cement block which ran 5 feet or so down. Rodel, who lives at the church, bent a hanger and got them out for me.!




Thanks so much and we anticipate this brightened your day a bit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

fostering relationship

Prior to leaving in June,we visited Fountain of Life church in Spanish lookout.  We were able to bring people from our community as well as the Deaf in the area came. The purpose in the visit was to explore possibility of connecting for frequently.

having coffee before church



Since then, Fountain of Life supports Jesus Deaf church to come once a month.  We bring people in the van, Nathanael interprets, and they provide a lunch for us.  The monthly visits began in January. It is a "typical" non-denominational service" with worship, Sunday school and preaching.
the Deaf section




The exciting component is seeing both communities collectively enjoy fellowship and foster relationship.  Just as thrilling is that there are people at Fountain of Life who feel called to Deaf ministry.  We revel in the partnership.




Nathanael interpreting during worship







Please pray with us as we continue. Pray that the people of Jesus Deaf church and Spanish Lookout Deaf community would experience Christ. We long for it to go beyond a set of rules, for them to truly know and have a relationship with the Father.


a game of volleyball after church


Additionally, (and somewhat unexpectedly) our kids are flourishing in the relationships they are forming.

The kids also hung out and drew with chalk on the court