Saturday, November 25, 2017

some "luxuries" we have now that we didn't two years ago

Lucianna, Joel and Heidi and even Ben Martin were witness to how we lived in Belize two years ago.  Really not much has changed.

I don't have a map in my head. Zephaniah and Selah seem to though which is helpful. I still get lost from the middle of town to our house. We live in a different area. I still haven't turned the map in my head around. (it takes me a bit.) ;)

What are the luxuries you wonder?

We actually did have access to the library last time, but didn't utilize it much. As a family we take a rest day every Monday. (since Sundays are so full for us) We like to visit the library on Mondays. The limit to check out books is one per card. The children don't want to squander their precious book, they choose carefully. I should mention that we also have library cards from the Bucks County Library. Those we use to access online items. (especially me!) Actually since we got some books, were given some books, took some in suitcases last October, and some on our trip here; we have a lot of books!  That is a nice thing to have. We really missed them last term in Belize!

Dogs.. another not "luxury" but a much enjoyed part of our lives. We have 4 now. Two came from the local hardware store. I am not sure they were receiving nourishment. After a few days with us they perked up. They scamper, sleep and play! We also made a trip to the Humane Society in San Pedro. There I was looking for a little dog to be my companion. Instead I ended up with a sweet yet larger dog. While I was falling in love with a quiet calm dog, Zephaniah found a excitable, energetic young half shepard. We ended up taking both dogs! The dogs aren't only here to be companions. They help gaurd the house from "thieving"(as one would say in Kreol)

You may remember the confusion Zephaniah had when we returned to Pennsylvania over the machine next to the washer.  We didn't own a dryer last term. Every piece of laundry had to be hung on a line outside. 

Nancy had a dryer, that she left here for our use. It does feel luxurious. That being said the chosen method of drying clothes tends to be our wash-line. The electric bill thanks us!  It also adds to the heat, which is something we don't want to do. If I need to dry I plan it at night. 

 A heated shower! Somehow in my years of using these, I missed the name. If you don't know, read on to the end of the blog post :). They work best with a low water output. I have found that if I am patient and do it correctly, the shower is a warmish temperature.  That being noted, it is glorious to take warm showers when one is chilly.

we did have bikes our last term. In fact our friend has one of our old bikes now. This term I was able to bring a cargo bike from Pennsylvania. I can throw children and "stuff" on the back of the bike. What a huge help!  Nathanael found a folding bike here that he is enjoying. He is hoping to travel with it on his bus trips to Belize city. It is freeing to have transportation that is functional.

Speaking of functional transportation this is the biggest one. We use the van for 3 things: Friday night Bible Study, Sunday morning church(transporting people), and grocery shopping/ water hauling(which we limit to one trip a wk. Gas in Belize is expensive. The current price is 5.75$/gallon (US). This is why we choose to make use of the van only for specific circumstances. It is beneficial for our budget, and our health. 

Todd and Lizette Miller are in the process of getting home as I type. They joined us this week in Orange Walk. It was a blessing to have them! We are praying the get home safely. Next week? A summary of their time here!

If you don't know the name of the shower head (like I didn't) It is called a "widow maker".

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fun night

While Nancy was the pastor of Jesus Deaf church, she did Friday fun nights monthly. Since we came running into the position, Nathanael had decided to wait until things were a little more settled.

He decided that we would do the first Friday fun day in November.  

It felt like a grand undertaking.  Nathanael picked out a movie. He interpreted it by putting a movie of himself in the corner of the movie as it played. He chose A Princess' Bride.

I took charge of the food. I can't tell you how thankful I am that the instant pot was on sale before we left. I made bean soup for about 60 people using it!  It is a kitchen gadget I don't regret.

After cleaning and picking people up, We gathered for prayer.

The girls and I served the soup with carrots/cucumbers and cupcakes.  Next time I will recognize that I can't just have bowls to serve in. Oh well live and learn!

Nathanael played a short review game. He has been going through the Bible, starting with creation. Friday nights he reinforces the teachings he has on Sunday. It was great to see people interact and see what they remembered.

After the short game, we played the video. From the feedback, people really enjoyed the interpreting being "on screen" so they could view the movie and the interpretation at the same time. Nathanael has a bit to work on as far as the technology. I admire what he's done so far and trust next movie night will be even better!

For the drive home, Nathanael chose to make one trip instead of two. we had over 20 people in the 15 passenger van. It was a tight squeeze but we did it!

This week we will have visitors! Todd and Liz from Connecting Deaf (one of our sending churches) will be here from Saturday to Saturday. Pray for save travels for them and connections within people in the church.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A familiar trip

Things are settling into a pattern for us.  That isn't to say we've got it all "together" or that we are totally organized. This past week Nathanael emptied the trailer of the items we had in storage from our last term. Currently our house is messier than it had been in the past. I am trying to take it in stride. I want to organize it once and for all, making a place we can feel at home.  I will spare you the picture of our mess.

A rude awakening was what started our trip 2 weeks ago to Dangriga.  After prayer, it was decided that Abigail would make the trek to Kids Konnect this time. To take the bus we have to get the 4am or 4:30am bus.  I like to choose the earlier one. There is a greater likelihood of getting a seat.  Nathanael was kind enough to drive us to the bus depot.  We were surprised to find a tour bus instead of the usual old school bus. Abigail and I were unprepared for the trip in AC, and the kind conductor allowed us some blankets for the 2 hour trip. We switch buses in Belmopan and this was a "normal" old bumpy bus. Both Abigail and I had a restless nap on the bus

If you recall, my mom and I did the trip a year ago. We were unable to do any more of the Kids Konnect trips while in the US. This was our first time back.  We always feel welcome and enjoy our time serving.  It is nice to serve in a different way than our "usual".

This particular time was a bit humbling for me. I borrowed some ear plugs to aid in sleep. When I went to pull them out the second morning I found my right ear was without the ability to hear.  We got some of it cleaned out with the help of a lovely doctor. That night I figured the ear was totally cleaned, and still needed the plugs to help sleep.  This time I woke up at 1am and had the same issue which had now worsened.

Unfortunately this caused undue stress in the middle of the night. I was ashamed I had shoved the earplugs back in my ears. I was embarrassed that I would again have to ask someone to help me totally remove the wax. I spent most of the day Saturday only hearing out of my left ear. It made taking blood pressures difficult.  Finally another doctor helped me totally clean and wash out my ear. I was as good as new. What a huge relief.

Speaking of being humbled, it is a good thing for me. My biggest struggle this trip was the repeating nature of it. How can I be of service to these people in a way that leads to their betterment? How do I introduce them to Jesus in a tangible way?

Kids Konnect has a team of missionaries that live in Belize. Those people directly connect, pray with , and live among the people we minister to.  It is a great continuum of their ministry.  They also have a place they own employing locals to give them greater opportunities to learn and grow, both in their faith and job skills.

Abigail had a great time. I was a bit worried for her, but so many people took it upon themselves to help. She was not lacking work. She held babies and walked people from one station to the next.  She even allowed two ladies the privilege of brushing her hair one night. (something she doesn't allow me to do)You will note that all pictures I have are mostly of her. I neglected to ask her to take some of me ;) I promise you I was there!

Thank you for your support and prayers for us. This week marks another trip to the immigration office.  Nathanael is having trouble contacting the American woman who will help with his long-term visa.  Also please pray through our transitions. As things have settled, I think we are all missing Pennsylvania now more than when we first arrived. We know it is part of the process but it is still difficult.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

visa Process

Being in Belize finds us again at the immigration office.

Every country has different laws when it comes to Visas. I can honestly tell you the Belizean process is not my favorite.

When you arrive in Belize, you recieve a month "tourist" visa. Once that month is completed, you must return to the immigration office. Thankfully for us there is one in Orange Walk.  Each month you must pay 25$ US to be in the country. After 6 months, the costs goes up to 50$ per person.

One must go to the office (in person) and present your passport to the officer. Sometimes they ask why you are here sometimes not. I have to say that this last time (our first time this term) the officer was quite pleasent.

Once they have taken your passport, they send you with a form to pay for your visa. We have about a 1/4 mile walk/ride to pay for the visa.  When you return, you  turn in your reciept to the immigration officer.  They stamp your visa for the next month, and you are on your way.

Last term, it was a toss up. In the end we paid the same total as would have been paid for the longer term visa. We had monthly visits for the length of our stay in Belize.

This term, our stay will be much more long term. We are starting our long-term visa process.

There are two visas we could apply for:

Pastor/missionary visa: volunteer visa, a one time cost.

Worker visa: any job that one applies for must first be offered to a Belizean. In Nathanael's case, there aren't any Belizeans who can do his specific job. Nathanael has spoken with the head of the minsitry of education. They are in agreement with moving forward with him getting a visa through the work.  This will allow us more likelyhood of having residency. This is a process that will most likely take a long time.

Honestly the best way to get things done in Belize is to go somewhere "in person". Nathanael had been emailing the ministry of education with little response. He went without an appointment and waited for a time when he could speak with her. She agreed to help, but there is still a process involved.

(Abigail waits with our dog outside of the minstry of education building)

The first step is going with an American who just recently received her residency and work permit. She is helping him navigate the process. This must be done in Belmopan, the capital of Belize.

I hope this has opened your eyes a bit to the process we are going through, and that you would know how to pray for us.

Thanks so much for your prayers and support of us!!

By the way, we discovered that it is an ardous process to get a new post office box. Instead we have decided to keep the one we had used with Nancy before.  Here is that address should you want to mail us a letter:

PO Box 158
Orange Walk Town
(there is no zip code required)

If you want to mail more than a letter or post card, we suggest you contact us. We have people visiting us or Dangriga often and it is the safest way to get something to us.

Thank you!