Wednesday, February 28, 2018

It's all about relationship

While we were in training with EMM, one of the books we read was called from Foreign to Familiar.
The book speaks about the difference between "cold cultures" (the ones further from the equator) and "warm cultures" the countries closer to the equator.
Friends invited us over to their home for dinner
Cold cultures tend to be task oriented. Culture is based on getting your work completed.
(Zion walks down the path with her new friend)

Warm cultures tend to be relationship oriented. They still get work done but the relationships with the people around them are the most important.  We are from Pennsylvania, a quite "cold culture" environment. I also tend to be a task oriented person. Honestly that was probably the most difficult for me when I became a parent. Suddenly my tasks were interrupted, multiple times.  Perhaps it was God's way of preparing me to live here.

(Families play by the river and fish)

Here are some real to life examples we face:

One is in line in the grocery store. You make conversation with the clerk who is ringing up your order. Despite the fact that there is a line behind you, the clerk gives their full attention to you. The line doesn't move until you are finished your conversation.

I went to workout the other week. Somehow I missed the announcement about wearing our shirts for a group picture.  I arrived just as everyone else was standing for the picture. I tried to convince them that I didn't need to be in the picture. They insisted that I go home quickly and change. One woman loaned me her bike so I could get there quickly. All of the woman waited for me to get the shirt, come back, and stand for the picture.  The funny thing about this is that no one was mad. I made everyone wait to start their workout. They waited with smiles on their faces, talking to each other.
(The picture that shows all the women who waited for me)
A mother of a Deaf girl called Nathanael recently. There was a problem with her daughter she needed to discuss. Prior to speaking about her daughter's problem, she spent the first 5 minutes of the conversation asking Nathanael how he is doing.  

(Some of the people at Bible study)

I worked with a doctor from New York a few weeks ago. I helped him assess patients prior to him seeing them. Since he didn't have a set system, people ended up coming out of order to see him. He became irritated that the system had been breached. He didn't know that most people would wait all day. After they were seen, they will sit and visit with each other. 

(Manuel and Misael)

It is a huge adjustment for me. When we are working on school work, the last thing I want to do is stop my day to invite someone in. That being said we've had multiple times this has happened to us. Over Christmas break, we were trying to find somoene's house and stopped at a friend's house to ask for directions. We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon, talking while the kids played and rode horses.  

Selah Horseback riding

The relationship oriented culture is still in the learning stages for us. We enjoy more of a laid back approach to life. We aren't running from one activity to the next. I have to admit there are times I just want to get things done!  
I hope you all have a great week


Monday, February 19, 2018

the trike

This may not come as a surprise as I did a short blurb about our trike on Instagram 2 months ago.

As most of you know, we were gifted a van for ministry in May 2017. That is the van we drove to Belize. We use it regularly, for church purposes. We transport people to and from church and Bible study.

The biggest issue we had was the gas we've had to pay for the van. Gas in Belize is over double the price we were paying in Pennsylvania.

After consideration and prayer, Nathanael got a scooter. It has been a huge blessing. He has been able to go out further, to villages, visit Deaf, and connect with them.

We get about 11 miles per gallon in our 15 passenger van. The scooter gets 41 miles per gallon.

As a family we use the scooter to go shopping, get water, and in general get places. We don't go on the highway, but the in town use is just as quick as the van would be.

In other news:
Nathanael received a letter from the department that would approve his work permit. They have asked him for more paperwork, his original application was rejected.  Please keep this in prayer. We are asking for wisdom. Does God want Nathanael to focus more on ministry, Bible Studies, discipleship, and reaching out to the villages?

Thanks so much for your prayers!


Monday, February 12, 2018

A call to prayer

I first learned about prayer when I was a part of YES (Youth Evangelism Service) in 1998. Intercessory prayer was a part of our discipleship training.

(the children getting prayed for at Koinonia)
Since then I feel like I've been on a learning curve. Prayer is such an important thing. It involves both speaking and listening. It involves coming face to face with our Savior, trusting that I can leave things in his hands. It changes me as I grow into deeper trusting my maker, learning more about him.

I have felt that my time in Belize is marked with a call to prayer. I don't have a lot of opportunities for ministry, I am still language learning. (along with maintaining our house and homeschooling).

We had been looking for a church. We don't have an opportunity to go every week, but it is good to fellowship beyond the church that we lead. I was looking on the map when I saw a church pretty near us. Nathanael contacted the pastor of the church, and Pastor Ed suggested meeting.

The first week we attended church I was humbled. Every week, they call the pastor and his family forward. They spend time in their service praying for their pastor, the children and when we are there us as well. They pray for us in their weekly fasting service on Thursdays.
(Dayna and Ed Perez pastors of Koinonia, at the sweetheart banquet) 

I have been able to go to the Tuesday evening prayer service. It as an honor to pray for others in the church. It is also a lesson. When I go to prayer meetings in the US, usually one person prays at a time. Here the prayer request is stated, and everyone prays at once, out loud.

(Some of our friends at Koinonia)

We know you pray for us. We love the opportunity to pray for you. Please let us know if you have a request we would love to pray for it.

(this is Pastor Ed and his family getting prayed for at Koinonia)

The last blog post I asked if anyone would like to be a part of a prayer group that would receive separate emails. We would like to give a more in-depth look at our ministry. We are hoping to send requests weekly or bi-weekly. We want to focus on the Deaf in the area, giving you a peak into their lives.  It won't be a long email, I promise :)

If you would like to receive these e-mails, please let us know. We will add you to our list.

Have a great week!!!


Saturday, February 3, 2018

A full week

Last week we had the privilege of hosting Dr Bradley Russell and his daughter Michelle.  While Nathanael preached Sunday morning, Abigail and I picked them up at the airport. It was my first time driving so far (in Belize) by myself. Thankfully these roads aren't PA roads. It's pretty much is a straight shot.

I was reminded of southern hospitality as Michelle called me "Ma'am" multiple times.

They spent their first 3 days in Belize with us. We were able to show them around the town. We ate from the street. We tried to provide them with a wide pallate: hot dogs, tostados, tacos, marquistias, and lemon grass tea.

We were able to introduce them to a lot of people who come to church. We held a dinner/game night at our house. Children mingled in between adults. Laughter prevailed. People stared at game boards or simply chatted. Nathanael helped interpret for Brad and Michelle. 

We spent 2 days doing some touristy things. It was nice to show them our little corner of Belize.  Laminai is Nathanael's favorite ruins. Brad paid for us to take the boat tour (our first time).  The wildlife is just lovely on the tour and at Laminai.  We didn't see toucans but we did see a rare bird. (You would have to ask Dr Russell as I am unsure of its name). The tour guides were helpful. We got to meet a man who became a christian because of a medical mission trip, and goes to church close to our house. 

On wednesday after visiting Old Belize, we drove to the camp (Camp Legacy), where we usually stay while working with Kids Konnect. 

The end of our week was spent working with Kids Konnect. It was nice to serve as a family. I admit Zephaniah was doing a lot more playing than serving. He met a fellow TCK who lives at the camp. They spent the day in the dirt and rain, having the time of their lives! We must have Tucker and his family to visit soon! 

The end of our first day in Silk Grass, it began to thunder and rain hard. Soon our power was out. The people in pharmacy will still distributing medications. They finished their work in the dark. I was so impressed with the stamina. I was also impressed because I didn't hear one complaint. People did their jobs as efficiently as they possibly could. I attempted to help, but felt lost. I didn't know where the medicines were while the lights were on. Without them, it was really difficult.  I let the experts do their jobs.

I was very thankful that Dr Van was along this trip. A few weeks ago I injured my elbow while working out. I have been trying to rest it, but it wasn't improving. Dr Van is a chiropractor. He took two seperate times to bring it back into alignment.

Abigail was a bit upset since we left "early". Usually we stay till Sunday and have the traditional group picture. This time we left Saturday evening. Since Nathanael was with us, he needed to return on Sunday for church.  I assured Abigail that although we weren't in the group picture, I am sure people knew we were there! 

Thanks again Kids Konnect team for what you do and for allowing us to serve along with you. It is a privilege. 

Be looking for the digital copy of our newsletter in your inboxes this week :)