Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Friends, Fellowship and Dry heat Oh my!!

Mid-April brought an exciting time of year for us again! We were so excited to travel with the Groffs (Tim, Julie, TJ, Simeon, and Gabe) from Belize to El Tule Guatemala. Why do you ask? For the EMM Central American annual Retreat.

a evening worship session

Chiquimula felt just as dry-hot (about 7-10 degrees hotter than what we are used to in Belize) as it did last year. We did arrive at a different time of year (last year was during March).  Trees and plants were a bit more green; so beautiful to behold.  One may get the impression that we who live in Belize are "used to" the heat, but to me the day it hit 101, all I wanted to do was return to Belize!
singing together

We arrived a day early and got to shop at Megapaca, the Guatemalan form of a thrift shop. Picking through long aisles of clothes which were not ordered by size (or color) in a non-airconditioned store just about did me in!  We found some good deals though so I can be thankful!

we tried out this "4d" ride at the mall for 25 q (3$ us) we found the ride to be lacking

It is a joyful experience to hug old friends and meet new ones.  This year the Guatemalan Vida 220 team, Jeanne and Emily Hess provided child care.  With 29 kids, 17 between the ages of 10-16, they have a big job cut out for them! Hannah Zimmerman is the TCK advocate and comes on the trip. She spends time with the kids (mostly the older ones but the younger as well). She talks them through issues and helps them navigate the unique world they all face.  It is such a blessing to have her come!

older kids getting prayed over

While we have morning and evening sessions, the afternoon time is free. A lot of time is spent either swimming or sitting in the only room with AC. I didn't not feel so inclined to hike this year, although my kids did.  My favorite time is reconnecting with friends and learning about what God is doing in their lives.

multiple games of foursquare happened here

This year we were blessed with an uneventful trip to and from El Tule!  Last year we had issues with the tires and people who came along for rides, and their visa issues.  We did listen to some audio books which was enjoyable (from my perspective!)

Monopoly Deal with friends

The most difficult part of our retreat is the goodbyes that happen. We are so thankful to be able to participate in the EMM retreat!

Nathanael found a Deaf guy at the market

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

having a target on our backs

I often listen to podcasts while doing work around the house. I started my podcast exploration about 6-8 months ago when a friend had recommended "God Centered Mom" podcast. (the name has now changed to "Don't Mom Alone" but I still highly recommend listening to it!)

peeling potatoes into the yard (our form of a compost pile)

This got me into finding a number of different great podcasts.  I run into a conundrum when listening. I am so "far behind" do I listen to the most recent podcasts or the ones I find the most appealing to me? I currently have 30 some podcasts downloaded on top of being subscribed to 50 different podcasts.  It is a bit overwhelming at times.

Zion and Zephaniah hiking in the bush with Nathanael

All of that last paragraph to say the podcast I was enjoying most recently is from quite a while ago. It was a podcast called Journeywomen.  She was sharing about marriage.  They talked specifically about times and seasons where marriage can be extra difficult. She named things like military families, those in ministry, and missionaries.   The speaker, Carla Weathersbee shared "they walk around with a target on their backs".

Anna agreed to do cornrows in Abigail's hair

This phrase brought me to tears. I commiserate because that has been my experience.  The devil doesn't want us to succeed, especially in marriage. Couples both in Jesus Deaf Church and Koinonia often decide not to get married. We are living examples of marriage and why God calls us to it.

I was attempting to use the fetoscope on Eliaznie but I couldn't get a good heartbeat(moving baby and lack of experience)

In the process of tears and speaking to God, I was also reminded that being a target isn't always a dreadful thing. We are also a direct target for prayer. I could recount to you times when I have physically felt prayers over us. Prayers for peace, prayers for our family and for the ministry.  You play a vital role. Thank you for "aiming" at our target!

Anna tried our bentonite clay mask

This past week, Nathanael had a discussion with one of the guys he is mentoring. There was a question of salvation, and this guy was unsure if he is/wants to be a Christian.  I mulled over that for a while. I started to fast and pray for salvations on Sundays.
Nathanael and Misael play kings

Monday Nathanael took Elizanie to the hospital for an appointment for her pregnancy.  The lab was closed however her heart was open.  After long discussions and spending the day at our house, she decided to give her heart to Jesus. We rejoice with her!!
Elizanie accepted Jesus!  We are so excited!!! 

She brought her boyfriend (and father of their child) the next day. Elmer is open to the gospel but hasn't made a decision yet.

Thank you for making us a target. Thank you for praying for and with us. We need to be in a place of health to minister to others. You are a vital part of this process.

The list of what people are bringing to our Easter service. Please be praying for this as it's our biggest service of the year

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Working as a team with Vida 220

We had a team from Vida 220 visit us for 10 days.  Our first exposure to Vida 220 was at the Central America EMM retreat. Last year they were a part of the team that cared for the kids.  There are so many kids they outnumber the adults!  Fun was had by all. It is a blessing to have young adults with a passion for Jesus pour themselves into our children's lives.

Nathanael transporting the team of 6 in the trike

This Vida 220 Belize team actually spent 2 months of their time in Dangriga with the Groff families ministering to the Garifuna.  Coming to Orange Walk made leaving the ministry they were in and changing direction!  (different languages and culture).
Working on a drama for church

What really amazed me was the groups ability to jump in. For the other teams, outreach is in one location for 5 months. 20 years ago when i was in YES, I had 8 months of outreach. The team set aside personal feelings and went right into ministry with us.
Eating at Pastor Fernando's home

The team here consisted of 2 from the US, 1 from Costa Rica, one from El Salvador, one from Ecuador and one from Guatemala. They spent 5 months in training in Costa Rica and are now serving in Belize.
walking in the community

It was a wonderful opportunity to introduce all of them to a need that really is in their backyard. Two people took sign language books with them to study more. All 6 worked at learning worship songs in ASL. They also spent time conversing.  One woman in particular said she has a Deaf neighbor and looks forward to getting to know the neighbor better.

Nathanael interprets for Jeimmy

The other direct impact they had was on the Davis children. They listened to, danced with, and in general loved on our kids. My mama heart was overflowing!  It was a difficult goodbye.

Worship songs

Please pray with us for the Vida Net team on the next leg of their journey. They were to travel to other Mennonite Churches in Belize. Two of the participants were denied visas. As far as we know they won't be returning to Belize.
Participating in Bible Study. Elizani's boyfriend interpreted

As a side note, we highly encourage anyone taking a gap year to look into Vida 220. Doing missions short term is an impactful, life changing experience.

we spent Sunday afternoon watching Up together