Monday, April 25, 2016

Kids Konnect 4 Jesus trip

Wednesday found us at 3:15am, awake scrounging around.  Of course I had to try at least to finish washing dishes before leaving the house.  The kids woke up with much complaining and we walked to the bus stop.  The busses that miss going to Belize city save us 2 hours of travel however they come at 4:00 and 4:30am.  We try to catch the 4am bus so that we have a better chance at seats.

 We had an uneventful trip to Dangriga.  8:30am found us in the local ice cream shop (which also sold good coffee).  Galen and Phyllis picked us up and we "crashed" for a while.  After a lovely lunch of barley and rice we went to the Kids Konnect camp.  Phyllis took the little ones out to the river to play a bit.

Wednesday evening was spent organizing and meeting people.  We were unsure of how our sleeping arrangements were to be made.  Dr Ed generously let us stay in his cabana for the time.  It was such an unexpected blessing!  We have stayed in the dorms every other time so were surprised at this! Abigail and Selah enjoyed having their own room together.  Zion and Zephaniah stayed with Galen and Phyllis for the days we worked.

Thursday morning after a time of worship, eating and devotions we headed out to do clinics.  I continued my job of nursing.  This time I was privileged to work with a local nurse.  She is originally from Nigeria but has lived in Dangriga for 6 years now.  It was her only day off and she came to serve!

Nathanael and the older girls had a good time.  All of the doctors were in a big room so much of their time was spent interacting.  Both Nathanael and the girls did entertaining.  Nathanael helped "people move" by directing them to their locations.  Abigail and Selah shared about Jesus and played with kids.

Friday was my birthday  Galen and Phyllis arrived with a wonderful tres leches cake to share.

This pattern continued into Saturday. Saturday is a big day with Kids Konnect. They head further from Dangriga to a church called Light of the Valley.  There our patient load about doubled.  I triaged at least half of my patient load in Spanish.  I did some interpreting although this isn't my expertise. It was good to remember what I used to do at Esperanza!  (Just as a side note although I triaged 40-50 people a day; in order to protect their privacy we are not allowed to show people's faces)

Really what makes an impact on me is the humility of the people we've worked with.  The doctors don't have any qualms with "getting dirty" and are humble.  It is a community I enjoy and that truly loves Jesus. We like talking with the "fresh" people who come for the trips and the long term people who are settled in the Stann Creek area. 

Today the people from the US actually took their bus from Dangriga.  This allowed us to get home quicker. We had only one bus to catch from Belize City which was nice.

We arrived home and have crashed!  It was a long 5 days and we are exhausted.  We are so thankful to Kids Konnect for welcoming them as part of their family, and allowing us to serve alongside of them.  It was truly an honor.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Putting on our armor

I know I have said this before but I am so thankful for the ministry to children website!  Coming down to Orange Walk I wasn't aware I would be in charge of "Children's ministry."  I am not sure that I would have had the time to look over curriculum considering all we had to do before leaving.

That being said this website makes it so easy to use in Sunday School.  It is easy to do lessons and add object lessons.  The coloring pages are great.

We did the Fruit of the Spirit, Christmas, God's Love, Resurrection day, and most recently have been focusing on the armor of God.  What a concept! 

 I have been thinking about what I clothe myself in.  What am I putting on everyday?  I am a huge fan of Tolkien.. well really the Hobbit and the LOTR...  You see I grew up on these books.  Every night I fell asleep thinking of Frodo and Bilbo, wondering if I would ever go "out of the frying pan and into the fire".

I have been re-reading the trilogy.  In the first book,  Frodo is given a coat of mail by Bilbo who insists he wear it.  Frodo feels silly.  What will this thin armor do  in protecting him from such a hug unseen enemy.  Reluctantly he hides it under his shirt. After this coat saves his life, deflecting a hammer from smashing his intestines; he learns the value.  The value is greater than any treasure he's laid eyes on. 

Isn't this the truth about the armor of God? There are times where we are so no-committal about it.  We think maybe it's not necessary or not valuable. 

Doing this study on the armor of God with the Sunday School class has helped me re-focus as a whole and individually on each piece of armor.  Each one has value and each one has a purpose.

So what are you "putting on" today?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Coming to an understanding

My mentor and I were talking on Thursday. She was helping me summarize what I've been feeling lately.  We decided one of the words was misunderstood.

I think that language (and culture) learning really sets anyone up for this. We make assumptions about things based on our view of the world.  When you can't communicate effectively things get mixed up. Sometimes this culture also tends to "make" this happen.  Although it is very warm culture, there is no shame in telling someone how they must change. Often on the street our children (or I) am told what we must do.. (like how to ride a bike) In my passport country it is rare for a passerby to offer advice.

The hardest thing for me is when someone assumes that they know me.  Maybe they think they do because they are facebook friends with me. Perhaps they have been to my house or know my parents.

Sometimes I wonder if this same feeling isn't something that God feels. He longs for us to know him.  He doesn't want us to talk about him, read the Bible and that's it. He wants intimacy.  It is great to go to church, to hear about him.  Without relationship, the Bible is a bunch of stories.  Without truly knowing that all things are possible through Jesus, we can't truly commune with him.

In the same way I believe he wants to know me. He doesn't want a laundry list, or me reading his word out of duty.  This creator of the universe actually wants to know how I feel. He wants me to listen to how he is feeling.

Intimacy as a Christian I believe it is one of the greatest gifts he's ever given me.  I don't have to feel misunderstood.  He knows me, and I long to know him.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I am so proud of myself! (and Sunday School Easter photos)

Is this really a post about how proud I am of myself you wonder?  Not exactly.  I have been trying to figure out how to do what I did last week on the blog for months.  Really actually I just hadn't taken the time to figure it out. When I finally took the time to figure it out, it only took a short time to do what I wanted. Success! For this Gen-xer it was a huge accomplishment!

So what is the accomplishment you wonder?  

If you will note at the top of the page, I added some "pages" This is so you can access the information about us as easily as possible.  I am hoping this streamlines things for people. 

I am also really excited about the prayer requests page.  We plan on working on keeping them updated weekly (about as often as I update the blog).  There is no list to sign up for, nothing to connect with, simply go to the blog and access them when it's convenient for you.

The pictures included in this blog post are from our small egg hunt.

It was a small turnout.  Most Belizeans go swimming on Easter.  My children were glad that they had more eggs to themselves!  

The plastic eggs were actually from the Kinder Surprise (or knock off Kinder) eggs we had collected.  Before you think that we ate all of those eggs ourselves, recognize we've shared boxes with Sunday school 2 other times :) 

I am planning on update you on what we've been studying in Sunday school later this week.  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Who gives us validation?

What do you want the most? What do you wish for the most?  I think I've asked these questions so much in the past few months they have gotten stale like bread left out too long.  My children have wanted different things a different times. Sometimes they miss their friends. Other times it's a special food or place to visit, the hugs of family. (it just isn't the same over Skype although we do appreciate the ability to call people)

I also have a wanting for things. For the past few months I just can't get Panera bread out of my head.. especially their bread bowl with french onion soup!

Really though having been in Belize for such a short time we vacillate between looking at where we've been to missing the comforts of the States.

If you were to ask me what it is we desire, it would be a lot of things.

I think as someone in ministry a huge thing is tangible results.  Sometimes it feels like this is what "everyone" wants from you.  I got a card from a dear lady in our church in the States.  She asked "How are the signs and what about the miracles?"

wow.. talk about pressure!

I think really beyond that we just feel a desire to see what we are putting into things come out.  It took Nathanael almost 4 1/2 months to even get classes for interpreters started.  This involved getting to know the "bosses" at the Ministry of Education.  He went multiple times sometimes just discussing in offices and adapting to "warm culture" of being friends first..

He meets with men, going through The Purple Book, asking questions, and encouraging.  All of these things though won't convince someone to change their life habits.

For us the journey has been in understanding our "results" aren't God's.  We aren't called to change lives (although we hope that happens).  We are called to be obedient.  We are learning to trust that God sees what we can't, that our persistent prayers are availing much, and that God's vision is greater than our own.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Equal Access

Nathanael has been a professional interpreter for over 10 years.  He has completed his degree and studied how to take words from English to ASL and ASL to English.  Interpreting ASL as with any language is difficult. There is a differences in grammar and syntax.  One does not simply listen and spit out the signs, concept is interpreted. It takes a professional to understand context, idioms, and give them to someone else hopefully with it's meaning in entirety.

In the United States it is the law to provide interpreters.  When going to a doctor's office, meeting, or even school; it isn't just expected it's required.

In Belize the first interpreters started working in schools just a few years ago.  Up until now they were former teachers who knew some signs or people who had picked up signs.

In Orange Walk, Nathanael has many hats.  As we wrote in a previous post, he spends 3 afternoons a week disciplining Deaf men in the area and 1 day in Belize city.

Interpreting is another "hat" that Nathanael wears often.  He has gone to doctor's appointments, work meetings and more.  Two separate men have had improvements in their jobs.  They now have a ability to communicate at a greater level with their co-workers. They can discuss issues, and understand what is being asked of them.

Nathanael is honored to be able to facilitate communication.  He has great goals to provide access to all of the Deaf in Orange Walk.
and as a bonus..

Can anyone guess what song Ni and Josue are singing?