Monday, December 30, 2019

A licence to drive

One of the things Nathanael has been doing as a part of discipleship; and to aid in ministry, is teaching to of the younger guys to drive.

I have to admit, I am glad I was out of the country for the initial lessons!

The Belizean government was willing to give the licence before we were ready to allow them to drive alone.

That being said, We are very thankful that both Elmer and Misael now are "road ready".

Saturday, December 7, 2019

opening our home to guests

We have been so blessed this summer and into fall. After returning from furlough, we had a number of visitors.

Out for ice cream and watching a Bible Study in ASL

 Interestingly enough, I have been praying for helpers for over a year.  Tim Groff introduced us to a lovely young woman, Sarah. She finished her time in Vida 220. She is looking to see what her next steps will be. She is Belizean, which means a big part of her working with us will be easier. She knows her way around, she can have a job, etc.  Please pray with Sarah in the decisions she has to make.

Sarah did some homeschooling with the Davis kids

After we had Sarah and her friend Lydia, we were visited by the Charles family. Luke and Sherelle came with their 3 children: Caedmon, Derick, and Corrie.

The Charles Family

 The family joined in ministry with us in the community.
Luke helped with the kids while I stayed in Bible Study, a rare treat!

They were also kind enough to take us on a 3-day excursion visiting tourist attractions in Southern Belize. What a blessing to share in serving in this way!

Sherelle stepped into a lot of Deaf ministry

Carissa, a senior at Dock Academy arrived for her senior experience. I was extra thankful that she came during this time.  At the beginning of her time, Zion and I were at Kidz Konnect. (She braved a 4-hour van ride each way to help bring some from our church to the doctors).  We adopted her as our fifth child for 2 weeks. We really feel like having her was a positive experience.

Carissa riding in the back of the minivan home from Kidz Konnect

Carissa stayed 2 days after I had to leave for my Revelation Wellness training retreat. Those days were weekend days, full and intense.  It was a blessing to have Carissa help when I couldn't.  Thanks, Carissa for all of your assistance, and love.

Carissa had a youth night they made bagel pizzas

A week before Thanksgiving my parents and brother visited.
The token "Belize sign" picture with my parents and brother

It was my father and brother's first international trip.  It was a joy to share our lives with them. The previous two times my mother visited were dictated by other activities: Kidz Konnect in October 2016 and Abigail's quince in May 2019. 
Walking in a cave 

We found it helpful to be able to have a schedule based solely on our activities.  They also were able to take us to a few favorite places in Southern Belize. My parents insisted on helping around the house which included helping fix screens in our home. That was awesome since it was Six days felt like such a quick trip. We hope now that my dad and brother have their passports they are able to come and visit again. 
They participated in drama Sunday

This week rounded out our time of visitors. We had Two couples a day apart.  One couple were missionaries in Orange Walk 30 years ago.  The other couple was Kathy who lived here (in our apartment) to interpret for Sulmi.  Kathy brought fun games, including cup stacking which has since been a huge hit in the Davis household and Jesus Deaf Church.

Kathy with the youth that came to game night

While not a "full" explanation of our busy lives, perhaps there is a greater understanding of what we have been up to the past few months!  We feel beyond blessed to have had visitors.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Not old hat

There are times when we do something so often it becomes "old" to us, not as exciting. When I finally stopped to count, I realized it was officially my 10th time of joining the Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus family.  Was it old hat?  Actually I have found if I listen to the Holy Spirit, he always has something new for me to learn.  It is also exciting to see how God is growing their family in Southern Belize.  We are blessed to work alongside of them, and the Deaf in Orange Walk have received help through their ministry.
our suitcases all ready to go

Zion was the child who came with me this time. We left for the airport Wednesday morning. What a joy and a privilege it is that they let us ride in the Kidz Konnect bus with them!
unloading for the days work

Another thing that is growing in me is meeting with the same patients over and over again. This is especially true when i have the opportunity to work with the Spanish speaking population.
Nathanael interprets for one of the people from Deaf Church

The people of Jesus Deaf Church were able to come on Saturday. It is such a blessing to talk to the doctors and coordinate medications. Anna got a massage. She felt so much better! Marta and Anna also got glasses.
Tables set up for triage

It was such a refreshing time for Zion and I as well as the people of Jesus Deaf church. I am enjoying the role of being more involved medically with the population we work with.

Thanks Kidz Konnect for how you serve Belize!

sitting with someone from church and reviewing their medications after returning

Thursday, October 31, 2019

all is not quiet

Although it may seem as such, ( because it has been silent on the blog) Actually the opposite is happening. It has felt that we've been busy since we entered Belize (and possibly before then).

the view from one of the hikes Nathanael went on (sporting his EMM tee)

I could list all we are doing, but I am holding out that "someday soon" I will catch up on the blog.  One thing that has happened since we returned is we have had a significant number of visitors: both Belizeans and people from the US. This is fun and adds to the schedule.  I am hoping to do future posts about all of our visitors!

leaving Belize

Today I am going to focus on something that I should not be writing about.  Before you begin to contemplate, let me set the stage.

Seeing an old friend and his new baby

 Back in March/April, Velvet Ashes had a feature post about Traction. (A retreat specifically for men in missions, see link for more information and a cool video)  Immediately I was excited. I spoke to Nathanael about it and his only response was "do you know how much it costs to fly to Switzerland?" I was excited because this type of retreat fit him to a tee. No note taking requirement, lots of extrovert time and of course hiking!

they rode up the mountain in this, similar to an incline plane in Pittsburgh/Johnstown area

I prayed about it and discussed it with people from our sending church Hopewell Christian Fellowship.  People there caught a vision and sponsored Nathanael to go. Once I had the go-ahead, I sat down and paid for his tickets. My mentor and I had a great plan to surprise him, however when Nathanael inspected the credit card charges (he does this every day) He asked me why I had  a plane ticket as a charge. The cat was out of the bag!
the table is set

Nathanael left Belize to be (very) cold in the mountains of Switzerland.  He was even able to reconnect with old friends. (Who had come to PA on an exchange program 10 years ago)
at the highest place in Europe

He attended sessions, spent time in small group and counseling time.  He hiked, interacted, and played Settlers of Catan in Polish. (Everyone spoke English but the game was from Poland).  Mostly though he rested and recharged in ways that he hasn't in years. It was a time of refreshment.

Nathanael and his friends at the highest place in Europe

We are so thankful to the individuals from Hopewell that supported us in this way. Existing in health allows us to minister in health.  (physically, emotionally, and spiritually).

signing cow

Next on the radar, and an additional reason I am mentioning retreats today, is my trip to Phoenix, Az.  I will be spending 9 days retreating.  It has been helpful to have our zoom calls weekly, I feel like I have at least gotten to know some people's faces that will be at the retreat. 

I leave tomorrow.  Please be praying for Nathanael and the family during this time.  We have a visitor on her senior experience until Monday. That will be helpful at Bible study and church this weekend. If you want to be praying for me, I have the prayer calendar downloaded, I am hoping I can attach it to the Facebook post.

Thanks so much for supporting us in this way! We are excited about what God is doing

this is a screenshot of the PDF. If you would like me to email you the PDF let me know :)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sermon Derailed…Taking Their Turns

This morning church started as it normally does.  We have a typical service compared to other churches, except for one thing, it’s in sign language.  We start with announcements which are presented by a Deaf church member. Then a different church member prays for the service.  Next, we have a time of praise and worship songs.  Many of the songs are common church songs, however, in our setting, they are silent.  We don’t have a worship leader.  Instead, several church members will pick a song and then they take turns leading the songs they have chosen.  When the worship time is over, we have a time of sharing. Today less shared than normal.  After that we have offering and an offertory followed by a short break when the children exit the sanctuary. 

Last week I preached on when Jesus revealed his death and resurrection by telling the story of Jonah.  This week I started to preach on Matthew 8:23-27.   This is the story of the disciples waking Jesus during a storm on lake Galilee.  I started with the setting.  Jesus was travelling around Galilee by foot or boat preaching to the large crowds that surrounded him.  My sermons are very open.  Often, I ask questions or am interrupted to answer great questions.  This week a Deaf church member asked why Jesus was here for such a short time.  He could easily have stayed and done years or decades more work.  After much discussion, it was suggested and agreed that one reason was so the disciples could, “take their turn”.  Quickly the discussion turned into the need for the Deaf church members taking their turns like the disciples did.

What a great way to have my sermon derailed.  What a great discussion.  Please pray for Jesus Deaf Church as we continue to grow.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The disparity

Amy Young has written a new book entitled Getting Started. As a part of her editing process she allowed some people to read a chapter she was working on about suffering in missions. It really hit home for me. A part of the chapter talks specifically about grief, specifically the grief experienced on the field. A huge one with grief is coming to terms with the differences we face.  Amy also makes the point that grief isn't a one time circumstance. It sometimes creeps up on us.

The street in front of our house

For us this past month, it was with our dog.  In a time of celebration/fun we accidentally let the dogs out of the fence. One of them got run over by a car. We took him to the vet, but his injuries were too extensive. We had to say goodbye to him in the office.
Zion, Shep, and Zephaniah

The other day, Nathanael was driving around later in the evening. The water place was closed. (where we buy filtered water). Instead, he passed by the one that is open all night. A guy from youth group was there. Selah and Nathanael made conversation with him. He works at the water place. His hourly salary is 3.75$ an hour. He was excited because that day he had worked overtime and was making 5.75 an hour.
Abigail and Selah participated in a run with the Koinonia youth group

For some reason, this in particular hit me. I held it in my heart as we navigated care of our dog. We prayed and tried to do our best for him. At the same time I thought about this high school aged guy who contributes to the family income.

our front gate, where a lot of exchanges happen

Is it okay to spend more than he makes in a week on a dog? There isn't a good answer. We face questions like this weekly.  It is a space of grief, looking at disparity, and asking God for wisdom.  We don't always navigate this well. We are learning.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The road traveled

We made it safely to Belize last Sunday night. Pastor Ed generously picked us up at the border. At around 12am EST, we were greeted inside our house by this lovely group of people! The cleaned the layer of dust in the house (so helpful!!!) and put clean sheets on our beds. What a huge blessing. We gave hugs, greetings and said goodbye.

our welcome home crew

Sleeping came quickly but sweatily. We are back in the Belizean humidity and heat.

Nathanael holding Briany(Elizanie's daughter) 

Monday Nathanael woke up early, it is his "par" for getting to Belize. He wakes up about 4-6am for the first few weeks until his body adjusts. His first action was to pick up Briany and Elizanie so that we could meet the baby.  He just couldn't resist meeting her in person!  He's been holding her every chance he can get.

Zephaniah and Nathanael on the bus to meet the custom's people

We did have some adventures on the road including the hub blowing out, paying a bribe, and hours of Down Giliad Lane :).  We are thankful to be in Belize.  We feel like the transition process is a bit smoother and quicker than the past, since we returned to the same location.
The elusive tire issue

Thanks so much for walking with us on this journey!  We are excited to have returned to Belize.

our last stop before leaving the US: Starbucks to use up our Starbucks card

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

an update on our journey

The 22 some hour journey through the US is about over for us.
had to stop in Harrisburg to get a title printed for the van

I honestly wasn't sure we would make it, the sleeping in the van isn't too comfortable!  We made it to Corpus Cristi Texas last night.
That was a quick 5 min process! PTL!

We did run into some issues with a wheel on the trailer. Please pray it is fixed well and lasts us the rest of the 1,500 miles back to Belize.
at a rest stop

Today we have 2 hours to go to the Mexican border. This was a place of high stress last time. We are walking into it with more knowledge and hopefully wisdom. Please pray with us as we do this!
Selah was my navigator while Nathanael rested in the back

Finally I am looking at safe places to stay along the way. Pray for wisdom and safety as we travel in Mexico.

Finally sleeping in a bed! 

Thanks so much!


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Taking up my yoke

We are coming to the end of our 9-week furlough. To say it was fast would be an understatement. We have enjoyed small tastes of many different activities we missed and big tastes of special treats. We squeeze in times to fellowship and extra hugs. I have come to recognize that I can't "make up for" the two years we were gone, nor the time we will be gone in the future.
our visit to Connecting Deaf church

My kids, Zephaniah especially, are experts in this area. They enjoy what is in front of them with full vigour. I am trying to learn vicariously from them.

we did a bit of hiking in Peace Valley

The point was reiterated to me today. I was in a conversation with friends. They talked about kids, fixing up their houses and camping.  Although we paint some of the rooms, the house we stay in isn't our own. We make it home to the best of our abilities.

we went ice skating as a family

The conversation led my mind to wander. There are many times as of late I believe that others have an easier road than we do. In my mind, I recognize it's a lie of Satan. In my heart, the cool air blows my hair and I remember snow. I begin to wonder how much better our lives would be if we lived in Pennsylvania. I miss things, people and opportunities.

even Abigail dipped her toes in the water

It is in these moments that God reminds me. Driving in the snow really stinks. I am blessed that I only have one wardrobe. I haven't had to buy winter clothes for our kids in years. (We usually make sure they have one sweatshirt/jacket that fits and one pair of pants) More importantly, my calling looks different.
Selah and my mom work on a tye dyeing project

If we all had the same calling there would be a lack in so many areas. What a blessing to be a part of the body of Christ. What an awesome thing that our Heavenly Father actually planned for this.

Nathanael had the opportunity to boat with Greg Stemler for an overnight trip

While on the EMM retreat this past April, we were asked to take one truth with us. The thing I felt called to apply to my own life was understanding more about what it means to take up his yoke.  The process of listening to my friends, yet find joy in my own life, is an ongoing one. Some struggles are more blatant while many times they remain hidden.

I was fascinated by the book check-out process at the library

I am choosing to step into the calling He has placed on our lives as a family with acceptance.  He loves us, sees us, and has a plan that involves both Nathanael and I and our children. The "missed" opportunities aren't a reality. Our assignments are contrasting yet prepared ahead of time, should we be willing to step into His best for us.
as cold as we'll be for a long time! 

What yoke has he called you to today?