Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The rest of our drive

In case you missed our announcement, we arrived safely in Belize on September 13.

The process to get to Belize took a week and a day longer than we originally had anticipated.

After leaving my Aunt and Uncle's house we traveled south. We spent 3 days in route to Texas.  While we were at Bill and Jeanette's the broker who was to help us cross the Mexican border finally contacted us. He stated to get the correct visa for our van, he had to have the title for 3 days prior to our arrival.  We paid to have the title overnighted to Texas. Unfortunately due to the hurricane, this process was delayed by 5 days (no we didn't get a refund on our overnight fee)

When we arrived at Jay and Lisa's home the title still hadn't arrived, and it was Labor day sunday.  We spend 3 nights at Jay and Lisa's waiting for this process to happen. They were gracious to us, allowing us to stay and eat their food! We visited a retro arcade, Nathanael's grandparents, and Jay and Lisa's life group.

Once the title was there, we traveled 2 more days to the border. (Texas is huge!!)

Our day at the Mexican border wasn't the most fun day of the trip. We did end up getting through, and learned some things about making the process quicker, should we choose to drive again in the future.  Since it took so long (over 8 hours) we ended up on the highway (without gps) much later in the day than we had wanted to be.

One more very long day on the road found us in Monte Maria at 10pm. Nathanael deftly navigated the busy streets with our long trailer! We stayed in the guest house at Tierra Prometia Saturday night till Monday morning. We were blessed to go to church there, and spend some time with Bob and Bonnie! I reveled in the awesome food, fellowship, and time at the church!

Two more days on the road in Mexico, one sleeping at a roadside hotel, one in a cabana found us at the Belizean border. This time we felt safe. The border crossing felt just as haggering though.. a long  8 hour day in the Belizean tropical sun. Kids took it well.  This was also an answer to prayer. After speaking with our former supervisors, we found out we paid less for our van and trailer in taxes than they had 2 years ago for just bringing their small suv.

We were met by Tim Groff and his friend at our house at about 8pm Belizean time (it felt like 10pm to us).

Hope you enjoyed the long summary of our journey. More news to come!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

a part of the adventure

all started well, leaving the Hopewell parking lot after many tearful goodbyes. Not even an hour into our journey Nathanael looked back to see one of the trailer tires had completely blown!

It was in pieces. The spare was replaced but air leaked out. We abandoned the trailer on the turnpike, and got a pressure pump to re-fill the tire  After almost 3 hours, we were on our way again.

Another hour past and Nathanael noticed a sudden drop in the power. He stopped to check fluids, inspect the van.  After a process it was discovered we had a faulty transmission. My uncle rescued us from the side of the turnpike. At this point it was nearing 11:30 at night. We were an hour and a 1/2 away from their house our intended destination). Thankfully they are farmers. He had a truck and pulled our trailer. He also stopped at Wal Mart for a temporary transmission  fix. (as Tom Sadler more about this as I am not a mechanic by any means) This fluid made it possible for Nathanael to drive the van (slowly) to the farm.

It was nice to be in the comfort of family. It was also reassuring that we have a mechanic we can trust.

While the transmission was being re-built, we were able to explore some Johnstown history (yay for field trips that count as school days). My cousin even gave us a pass so we got in for free!!

My aunt spends a good amount of her time caring for my grandmother. It is humbling to watch.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to see my Pop-pop from my dad's side. He took us to Eat'n park (His favorite restaurant).

The kids have been enjoying running and exploring the farm. Zephaniah could spend weeks without getting bored.

I for one am enjoying the PA landscape for one last time.

We should (finally) be leaving this afternoon.  We are so thankful to the Hunsburgers for their hospitality and tolerance of our unexpectedly long stay! By the way my aunt runs an awesome Bed and Breakfast if you are ever in the Johnstown area. :)

A re-do of our schedule

Border crossing (Texas to Mexico) to happen hopefully Monday but possibly Tues (9/4-9/5)
One night in Mexico "alone"
One night with the Stevensons outside of Mexico City
One night alone
Bringing Belizean Border crossing to Thursday (or so)

Thanks so much for your prayers!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

We are not leaving on a Jet plane

I am aware that our newsletter shared how a friend blessed us with a van. We wanted a 15 passenger van for use in Belize. Most people who attend church don't have a vehicle. Culturally, the churches in Belize have a vehicle or bus to pick up members. We were so blessed, and will be using the van in this fashion in Belize.

The real question of the hour is how are we getting to Belize?

We will be driving. Today the final stages of packing are being completed including loading up the trailer.

For those of you who want to pray through our schedule:

Saturday Nathanael and I will be attending the Overcoming Anger seminar at Hopewell. We are excited that we are able to do this before leaving.

Sunday we will be at Hopewell, then leave from there.

We should be crossing the border between Mexico and Texas either the 31st or 1st of September. We will be one day by ourselves (Sleeping in a Hotel) Over the weekend we will be visiting missionaries in Mexico, Bob and Bonnie Stevenson.

After Mexico City, we have one day in southern Mexico.

We should be crossing the border into Belize around Tuesday September 5.

Please be praying for:

Family peace!!

Taxes both at the Mexican and Belizean border. If you noticed we "defaced" our trailer and van, that is all removable paint.

Safety on the road

We will try to update as often as we can on the ride.

Once we arrive in Belize we won't have internet at home, not sure how long it will take to get it. Last time it was a few weeks..

Thanks so much for your prayers!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

commissioning x2

This Sunday we were commissioned, and Nathanael licenced as a pastor through the Hopewell Network.

Joel Kolb stood up front and talked about the fact that we are actually ministering to a community within a community. We are ministering to Belizeans and within that culture Deaf Belizeans. (or it could be looked at the other way around, ministering to Deaf, and Deaf within the culture of Belize. )

All of that to say we had 2 commissionings. We were first commissioned last week through our Deaf sending church: Connecting Deaf.

We were blessed to be a part of the service. Todd preached on all of our callings to the world. This can be right next door, or around the world.  They had a time of prayer for us. (Of course I neglected to get someone to take a picture.)

They then treated us to an awesome lunch at Mission Barbeque.

This week as I stated before was our commissioning through Hopewell. Nathanael was confirmed as a pastor. We then had a time of prayer. The elders and our families prayed for us.  

We had a time of goodbyes after the service. We were so thankful to those who came and spent this time with us!  

Here is a link to the service incase you wanted to see the prayer time: 

The prayer and confirmation start about 1:45:10 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

We are in transition.

This is the state of our basement "living room" area currently. It is a mish mash of thrift store items, things to be packed, and things to be put in storage. I would venture to say this is the state of our entire house.. (sorry mom!!)

We are in the process of going room to room deciding what will stay (not much), what will go, and what we will get rid of. ( or bless other people with)

Recently a I was texting with a friend. She asked how I am doing. My answer: We are in transition. She asked if that meant we are packing and cleaning. Yes we are doing that. I was actually referring to a state of my heart.

Both Nathanael and I have read Looming Transitions by Amy Young which specifically talks about the challenges missionaries/expats face while going on to and leaving the field. We recognize that we are (and have been ) facing these transitions. We are thinking about saying goodbye, packing, anticipating change, and attempting to plan for it.

This past week we ran in a color fun run. I actually ended up with my niece who didn't want to run, most of my run was spent walking. On the way, we listened to this song:

I had chosen it, but I told Nathanael I hated it, and started to cry. Who wants to think about "when can I see you again?" as that is such an uncertain thing? I also have this "mom guilt" thing hanging over me, reminding me that "I" am doing this to our children. 

All of this post to say: Yes we are excited. We should be headed to Belize in the end of August! Please give us some grace as we navigate this time.  We love you and are thankful for you. YOur prayers and support are what has brought us to this point.

And for fun: Pictures from our run: 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Is Deaf church different?

I struggle with how to write this post as I don't want to come off as all knowing. I am far from an expert in Deaf culture.  Even Nathanael would be more "qualified" to write this as he's taken Deaf culture classes for his interpretation degree.

Let me then reiterate, this post is about me and my experience, perhaps to open your eyes to what Deaf church looks like.

One of the first things you will notice when walking into any Deaf event is it seems quiet. People all around you may be talking, but there isn't much noise when talking is done with your hands.

The call to worship looks similar.


Growing up I was taught to bow my head and close my eyes. In Deaf church you don't close your eyes. (how would you know what they were signing?) It may seem silly but this was an adjustment. Years of indoctrination about what you do when you pray went out the window. It has been a learning experience for me!

Worship is an interesting topic. Last month we went as a Family to the Anabaptist Deaf Retreat at Laureville. I had started this blog post before going. I am glad that I waited until after the retreat was over to finish the post.  It was really neat to be a part of the discussion relating to what Deaf worship looks like.

Since I'm not an expert, I would sum it up by saying I don't think Deaf worship needs to look the same as it does in a hearing church. I also wanted to say that as a hearing person it is not a good idea to sit in front of or even near the speakers at Deaf church. Deaf people love to feel the music!

Here is an example of Deaf worship I was introduced to this weekend.
Sermons look very similar, minus the fact that it's in ASL. Since I am still learning ASL, it is darn near impossible for me to take notes. If I look down at the page, I loose words! While in Belize Nancy took a lot of time illustrating her sermons with pictures. I found this very helpful. 

Conclusion: Deaf church is similar to what I grew up with in some ways, and others very different. We worship the same God. It doesn't have to look like I expect. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

All Quiet on the Davis Front?

I just read a post from a popular gossip column.  Apparently, a reality star couple was asking for financial support from their fans.  They are missionaries in Central America.  The website ripped them up and down for asking for support.

I personally felt my stomach turn as I read the article.  Gossip columns are meant to sensationalize, and that is what happened.  I find myself very thankful that I am not a reality TV star.

Since being confirmed with both EMM and CTEN, our biggest mission is now fundraising.  When people even hear it they feel for us.  Fundraising seems to evoke many feelings, mostly because it has to do with money.  EMM gave us a book as we first started with them called the Spirituality of Fundraising.  It was so important to look at fundraising from God's perspective.

We recognize that through our own efforts, we are unable to provide for ourselves in Belize. We have to depend on others to come alongside of us.  People who believe in what God is doing in the Deaf community in Orange Walk.

We are also aware that we have to put effort into it.  One lecture at our CTEN orientation was entitled "The Big Ask".  We were taught that statistically, the best way to raise support is to ask individually. This was a challenging, yet important thing to discuss. When we were speaking at Finland, Pastor Chris taught an important sermon about all money being God's.  How timely for us to remember.

So is our house quiet?  Nathanael has been spending every spare moment contacting people.  He is using facebook, texting, email and face to face.  I have been working at thank you notes to those who supported the work on our internship.

Fundraising has been a learning journey for both of us.  I can tell you went into it green, expecting, and dreading.  This being our second time at this, I can truly say this is a part of our journey.  God has taught us so much through it.  Is it our favorite thing?  Not really.  At the same time, God has guided, encouraged and surprised us.  We are thankful to him and to you for where we are.

If you haven't heard from Nathanael (or I) don't worry, you will :). Thank you for being our friends and for supporting us on this journey.  Every little bit counts. We are so thankful for the support.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

In case you didn't get the news...

December was quite a busy month for us. The first week started with a "bang".  Zion and Zephaniah slept at a new friends house. (some of their family traveled with Nathanael to Honduras) Abigail and Selah spent some  nights at a different friends home. Nathanael and I got up so early I had to literally hold my eyes open when I first woke up.

What was going on?

Nathanael and I spent 3 days in Texas. We have spent the past few months working to change our sending organization.  Joining with CTEN was an immediate blessing. We were welcomed with open arms. It was humbling to hear the story of a grass roots organization that grew from a few missionaries to over 400. Each and every missionary is supported by a pastoral care couple.

One of the most moving things for me was to be there during the staff prayer time. As an organization they weekly pray for their missionaries. This was confirmation to me of the choice we made.

We are excited to be on this journey as CTEN missionaries. At the same time we really value EMM. We were able to see that their presence in Belize (and former presence) was truly a foundation of our ministry. We would not have been able to do what we did without EMM. We will continue with EMM as associate missionaries.

What does this mean for you?

our ministry focus (Deaf ministry, education and access) stays the same
EMM will no longer be accepting funding for us.  All ministry funds must be directed through our page at CTEN. 
Cten is more flexible with the finances allowing us to be more flexible.

While in Texas Nathanael and I got to visit the Cross at Kerryville. These are the pictures we took on that visit.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Sound in the Silence

The room was silent but for a few clicks of a keyboard and the occasional swish of clothing. No spoken words, but full of life.

It had been a while since I had been to Deaf church. Too long for me actually.  My lack of exposure to ASL has lead my already struggling vocabulary to decrease.  The people at Connecting Deaf church were more than gracious with my struggle to communicate.

The lack of spoken words didn't decrease the Spirit of God that was in that place.

I am not sure if you have experienced "knowing" someone was a Christian before they told you? My lack of ASL didn't decrease the fact that God was in that place today. It was wonderful to fellowship with other believers, to be encouraged in our journey back to Belize, and to work at my ASL.

Connecting Deaf is one of our sending churches, and a support in the Deaf community.

as a PS thanks to Greg Stemler for taking our younger two children to Hopewell for us :) I am sure it was an exciting day for him as well!


"I'm going to really miss Mrs Hughes when when we leave."

 We walk out of time with her tutor and my daughter discusses how she is going to say goodbye. Goodbyes are an often brought up topic in our household. Spending a year internship in Belize then returning home for fundraising was in some ways a good idea.

We got our feet wet. We were able to have a tangible answers to what we will do in our next term.

Our children also grasp the concept of saying goodbye. They know what it means to really miss someone. We have multiple conversations centering on what we miss, and who we miss (or will miss).

I have an overflowing box of things to go to Belize. Things we didn't have access to, summer clothes,