Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fluff? Velvet ashes style.. :)

This week I am answering Velvet Ashe's questions on the blog :)  fun! 

1. Are you right or left handed? Anyone ambidextrous?
Right handed. I believe I always was. At the same time I have always struggled with knowing which had was Left and which hand was right.  Currently I rub my left thumb on my ring finger and that's how I tell.  16 years ago, I couldn't always tell you correctly my left from my right consistently.

2. When you were a kid, what job/role did you want to have as an adult? I know in 8th grade I did a career report on being a doctor.  Really that was because I wanted to be "as good as" my friend whose mother was a doctor.  She was planning on being one herself.  I really don't think I knew what I wanted to do. Sometimes I still don't know

3. If you had to choose between chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice-cream, which would you choose? Could I say  none?  I am not a big ice cream fan.  If I was in the mood for ice cream it would be chocolate though.. with lots of fun toppings!

4. What are some of your favorite movies?
That often depends on what mood I am in.  I love Life is Beautiful, and Unconditional are my top favorites. I have some other's I've liked but these stick with me.

5. Do you sleep with your socks on?
no way.. unless I am really

6. What do you enjoy about the culture you live in? Everyone knows each other and everyone is friendly

7. Have you ever needed stitches? Only once Any good stitches stories? My mom thought I needed stitches when I was 12 or so.  I screamed the WHOLE way to the doctor's office.  When we got there, my mother re-evaluated the cut and turned around. I was so relieved.

8. What do you enjoy doing on Saturday morning?
sleeping in and reading

9. Today, what’s the weather like where you are? It was a cooler day in the 60's.  It is usually 80-90's so we feel blessed

10. What smells do you like?
Lavender hands down is my absolute favorite.  I like others, but natural lavender I love in about anything

Valentines day party/What Sunday School typically looks like

For years the children and I have done something for Valentines day. Valentines day in school was always so special to me.  I would take those cheap o cards and pick through them.. giving the ones I liked best to my favorite people.  Nathanael assures me that he was not meticulous about this AT all.  Signing any card was good enough for him.  There went my dreams down the drain that  the "crush of my life" had picked a special card just for me..

As homeschoolers we do a modified version of cards anyhow simply because we can't make the mailboxes beforehand; and don't always know who will show up.

I really didn't want anyone to miss out.  We completed our Sunday School study on the Fruits of the Spirit.  We spent the next few weeks studying about love.  As I said before, it is a bit difficult to get everyone's attention all at once. Our sunday school layout looks something like this:

Break time for church kids let out. (I try to wait to let kids into the room until the parents have started church)
Play games.  (again thank you to people who gave games to our family or money for games they are getting well used!!)
Play outside
Short lesson
Coloring page

I tend to try to make the lesson short, but spend individual time with them asking and seeing if they understood the lesson.

Valentines day we talked about how much God loves us.  This concept is important to me, and I told the kids it is what personally motivates me.  Nathanael and I just did a online test on personalities, which again confirmed that I am a feeler.  I believe God's rules are true and following them will bring me his will.  Knowing he loves me is what makes me want to follow him.

I was able to share some homemade items like cinnamon rolls and blueberry french bread casserole.
We played pin the tail on the donkey, and ate some extra fun Kinder Eggs.  I think everyone went home satisfied; although no one got to spend time addressing special cards. (which perhaps was a good thing ;) )

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Joel and Heidi Kolb visit (part 3) Their perspective

If you have read previous entries then you have already heard our story told from the perspective of our hosts.  I am glad to be able to add to the story and perhaps even to give some insight into the Davis’ ministry as we saw it with fresh eyes.

One of the highlights our trip was praying for Jose and his wife.  You heard about the van breaking down on the way to the airport.  This was one of those moments that turned out to be a “God moment” because it led to our acquaintance with Jose, the taxi driver and his family.  Not only did I have great conversation on the way back from the airport, but he insisted on taking us to his house introducing us to his whole family! Jose’s wife was sick and we prayed for her. What Spring mentioned as a spiritual discussion was prompted by that experience of answered prayer. Nathanael and Spring have been cultivating a significant relationship with this couple and we were glad to have a part in ministering to them.

Spring and Nathanael’s primary assignment is with the Jesus Deaf Church.  Spring mentioned that we attended a movie night.  We do have a picture of Nathanael interpreting that evening.  This has become a significant outreach for the church.  It probably doesn’t occur to most of us that for a deaf person who has never learned to read lips or subtitles, watching a movie doesn’t make any sense unless someone interprets the dialogue.

Also, Sunday morning worship consists of signing songs with no singing.  Nobody needs to be able to carry a tune because nobody hears it anyway!  People take turns leading by signing their favorite songs and others “copy sign” after them.  Facial expressions become the primary means of communicating feeling.  This means that Bible stories are also acted out rather than merely read.  The whole body is part of communicating the gospel message.

Perhaps you already knew this, but it stood out to us in such a real way as we visited the Jesus Deaf Church that this ministry is not just sharing the gospel with deaf people, but giving them a community and the means to be able to communicate with others.  Perhaps you also knew that Nathanael is involved with an initiative by the Belizean government to service their deaf population nationwide by training educational interpreters.  This is not only an opportunity for a much underserved population, but for the Kingdom of God as well.  New Deaf communities can either form around local bars or around the local church.

Please pray for Spring and Nathanael as they plan their next term.  They are truly standing before a wide open door of ministry.  Pray for more workers to be called to help them in Belize and if you would like to invest in the work that they are doing, it is certainly a worthy cause!

Joel & Heidi Kolb

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Big Annoucment/Joel and Heidi visit part 2

Sunday morning came. Nathanael preached and I taught Sunday school. Joel sat in the preaching. Nancy interpreted.  Heidi attended Sunday school.

After church we packed up our bags. The original plan was to meet our supervisors closer to the middle of the country.  Unfortunately the place we were going to stay at suddenly became occupied.  Instead we ended up traveling to right outside the town where they live.  We got to stay at the same camp I had been at 2 weeks ago with my mission trip.

On our way to the camp we stopped with Joel and Heidi at Altun Ha, the same Maya(n) ruins that we had visited with Lucianna.

A boy at the restaurant was delighted to play dominoes with us while we waited for food: 

Joel and Heidi got some fresh coconut water: 

The trip to Dangriga took a little longer in the dark than we expected and once it got dark it was difficult to drive!  Nathanael navigated well and the kids had their fill when we pulled up to the camp at about 9:30.  Miriam, the cook for the camp left us some delicious chicken for dinner.  I saw her and her husband get baptized last week.

Joel and Heidi shared the Men's dorm and our family slept in the womens'. We all enjoyed the HOT showers! The next day our kids woke up and RAN to get in them! :) We also appreciated the huge fan which provided some white noise: 

That afternoon we met with Galen and Phyllis, Joel and Heidi

.  Dangriga is a town right next to the ocean (unlike Orange Walk) It made for some beautiful pictures.  The restaurant where we ate at has a small beach.  The kids loved playing in the sand for the first time since we've arrived.

We had a good honest talk with all of us together.  At this point you are probably wondering what the big news is.  It was part of the reason we had our meeting.  After discussing with Galen and Phyllis, our MST (including Joel and Heidi) our children and Nancy; we are excited to announce that: 

We have committed to another term in Belize!  

It was good to process details and discuss.  After our time at the restaurant, we spent some time back at Galen and Phyllis's house where we prayed and talked some more.  Galen and Phyllis live right next to the playground.  Our children had playmates.  

After sleeping at the camp a second night (and another round of warm showers) we drove Joel and Heidi to the airport.  We are very thankful to them for their visit!  Thank you to all of you for investing in our lives and ministry. You play a huge part in our work here.  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Joel and Heidi Kolb visit (part 1)

This past Thursday afternoon things were all set.  Nathanael would borrow Nancy's van, the children went with him.  I was staying home to finish wash and get the house set up.  About 25 min after they left, I got a text message. 

The clutch on the van was stuck. Nathanael could not drive. My whole family was stuck by the side of the road baking in the sun.  At first Nathanael asked if I could jump on a bus to pick up Joel and Heidi.  Instead of doing that, he spoke to our taxi driver friend. 

Our friend stopped by to pick up the kids (who could identify Joel and Heidi); rescuing them from the sun.  Nathanael stayed with the van till Nancy's mechanic could pick it up.  Fortunately Joel and Heidi are pretty "Go with the Flow". They were okay with the fact that we weren't at the airport immediately after their arrival

They were able to meet our dear friend Jose.  You can see some pictures of him and his family on Lucianna's post.  Jose has now rescued us several times with his taxi service!  We are blessed to know him. 

Friday, Joel and Heidi explored Orange Walk with us. Selah of course insisted that the first thing we do was to  have some Bubble Tea.  After walking and having some tacos, Joel and Heidi allowed us the privilege of an afternoon date! 

Jose stopped by before we left on Friday to have a spiritual discussion.  It was a privilege to pray with and for him.

Friday night was movie night at Jesus Deaf Church.

Lest anyone think that Joel and Heidi came to vacation; I will clear things up for you.  Both were a huge help.  Due to there not being a church van; Nathanael had to help pick up people (usually Nancy does this).  Joel and Heidi did a thorough cleaning of the church. I cleaned the bathrooms and cooked hot dogs. Joel said he encountered a few roaches in his sweeping.  I am thankful I didn't have to see them this time. Heidi also sat in the back of the church and played with children while their parents watched. I wish I had pictures, apparently we were all too busy to take some!

Saturday we had plans to go to Lamanai Ruins. (The ones we visited with Chang-He and Greg) It was rainy and a chilly 65 degrees pretty much all day.  We instead used the borrowed vehicle to see a little of Belize City. Joel and Heidi got some gifts to bring home. 

Almost the whole time Joel and Heidi were here it's been unseasonably cold!  We even picked up a jacket for Abigail in Belize city, since she hadn't had one. 

Apparently all of my good pictures I am saving for the next post about our visit to Dangriga. Stay tuned :) 

The desire of my heart

I have to admit that when I was first asked to lead Sunday school class, it felt like it was more of a "Let's keep the kids from bothering the adults" duty.

I was still shell-shocked from moving to Belize.  Nathanael could attest to the fact that change and me are sometimes enemies.  I think I want change but when it comes suddenly, it is difficult for me.
I often need some time to adjust, find my own way.

Even though I waited a month and a half to start the class, my heart was not in it.  After a long week homeschooling my children, it felt overwhelming to try to do something exciting Sunday mornings.

I had a plan to follow the honor curriculum, but that fizzled out due to Nathanael and I switching "shifts" on more than one occasion. We still are slowly working through this as a family.  I really love the simplicity of it, and what it teaches.

I instead settled on Ministry to Children.  They offer simple object lessons that I can build off of and a coloring page.

Once a plan was settled in my mind, God began to work on my heart.  He has reminded me of importance.  No matter what age, or what we do we are important to God.  Even if it seems like this job I have is lackluster, I have kids attention for a limited time.  What am I going to do with it.

As God changed my heart, I began to remember how important prayer is.  Nathanael and I clean the church on Sunday mornings before church.  This is my time to pray. To pray as I clean the dirt and roaches out of the bathroom. To go over the classroom and ask Jesus to be there with us.

The biggest lesson I learned last year was our utter dependence on God.  As I seek him, as I depend on his grace, it motivates me to seek him for these: his children.

When I saw the word of the week, I had to look it up.  Hesed. I honestly had never heard of it.  As I read the definition, tears brimmed in my eyes.

Hesed is the ultimate motivator.  Me I don't do well with rules or boxes.  His great great love is what calls me to obedience.  It is what I pray for my children:that they would experience him.  It is what I desire the children in Sunday school to see.

I don't want them to see me. I don't want them to have "fun" I pray that they meet with their creator, and know his Hesed.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Special trip

This past week I(Spring) went on a mission trip.  Nathanael stayed home with the children.  It feels funny to say I went on a mission trip since we are constantly on one.

This is the camp where we stayed at night

I was able to meet some people from Kids Konnect for Jesus.  There are 3 different couples in southern Belize doing different things in missions here.  One couple has a family with 2 children.  It was so nice to speak with other missionaries!

One of the trailers that carried the medical supplies.  All of the supplies needed to be loaded off and on the trailer each night

The bulk of our time however was spent doing clinics in different locations in the villages.  There is little access to doctors and medicine.  People come every 90 days from different locations in the US to help run these clinics, along with the long term missionaries that also play a big part in how the clinics are run.  The people from the US also bring as much medicines and medical equipment as they are able to.  

A Cocao tree.  These fruit are what produce chocolate.  

Here I am triaging a patient before they will see the doctor

I worked with an awesome team of over 40 people. There were medical doctors, a chiropractor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, nurses paramedics, a pharmacist, registration people, and many other volunteers.  These people have the job down to a science. They run efficiently to provide the best care to those who need it.

I liken my experience as to being similar to when I was working at Esperanza.  It was so neat to come together with other Christians towards a common goal.  The focus is on both the physical and spiritual. I was able to pray for people and ask they questions about their faith. Did they know Jesus personally, did they want to know more about him? Due to my experience with pediatrics and ability to speak Spanish, I often had plenty of work.

  It was more frustrating than Esperanza though because there is simply a lack of medicine and supplies. There are not neb machines to give out.  Type 2 diabetics are plentiful.  There is a lack of strips to help people check their sugars, a lack of machines as well.  This is not due to the team, it is about medical care and supplies in the country.  As someone who has only done medical care in the US, it was difficult to feel that lack of ability to give them what they needed.

a church in the village where we did a clinic

The gastroenterologist who came with the team saw a 2 year old.  He knew immediately that there was a serious issue with her.  Her lips were blue and she was asleep. By listening to her and getting data, he recognized that she has a heart defect.  Other than doing some referrals, there was nothing we could do for her physically and immediately.  What a dilemma.  She needs surgery! 

a picture of the whole team

Overall I am so thankful for the experience I had. I didn't know anyone personally prior to coming, yet  I was welcomed as one of the team.  Although I've been a nurse for almost 14 years, and have gone on various missions trips; this was really my first medical mission trip.  What an adventure!
on Sunday I got to watch a number of people get baptized. What a neat experience! 

Is competition healthy?

This is a question I really struggle with.

I grew up Mennonite. I have strong non-violence, pacifist peaceful roots.  I learned growing up that yielding lead to peacefulness. (although not always in my own heart).

Yet I see in my husband and 2 of my children this desire to compete.  I really feel it's not as negative of a character trait as I had previously believed.

Nathanael and I enjoy a good Qwerkle game.  Selah loves the challenge of clue.  I can't tell you how excited we were when the local thrift shop had new games for sale.  Our friend had given us a gift to use for ourselves, and this is how we used it:

When I think about playing a game with someone who is a good competitor, it is an enjoyable thing.  Having someone push me to do my best is challenging and fun.

I personally need to look at life this way more.  I was recently on a medical mission trip.  One wonderful woman took me under her wing.  She as a pastor's wife said everyone needs a Peter, Barnabas, and Timothy.  We need someone to mentor us, someone who runs alongside us, and someone who we are mentoring. 
I have a mentor, and she spurs me on to be greater. She knows when to challenge me, and when to encourage me.  I think this type of challenge is God given.  I need new eyes to see this as holy; as a way to make me more like Jesus. 
Nathanael and I run along side each other.  This is challenge in itself.  We have learned about tandem riding.  When we got our first tandem bike, the man warned us. He said that tandems either make or break a relationship. We learned.. through the making and the breaking.  Unity is key! My husband challenges me more than anyone else.
I say the challenge is the greatest this may be only partially true. When someone is learning from you; that is a challenge of a different kind. Someone who is following you watches everything you do.  If they admire you this is extra hard.  My children watch my every move.  This pushes me to be my "best" self.  I could tell you that having children has been the most life changing thing I have ever done.
Overall I am so thankful that God blessed me with things that challenge me to grow.