Thursday, May 30, 2019

a cultural celebration

If you are friends with Abigail on Facebook, this post isn't really a surprise to you. This past weekend, May 18th we celebrated Abigail "coming of age" through a fiesta de quinceaƱera.
The court for the quince: (l-r) Zephaniah, Jose, Alexander, Benji, Misael, Timothy, Abigail, Giani, Selah, Morene, Sasha, Zion

Last year Selah was able to be a part of Bethsy's and that was when Abigail decided she wanted one. It came with much discussion. 

Bethsy's Quince

I struggle because I am not one to plan details. Thankfully, Selah took up the reigns there. If you are wondering what a quince is here is a good short video on it:

I debated it but to be honest the idea of celebrating a child and dedicating them to the Lord as they are coming into adulthood was meaningful. I don't at all think it's a be all end all. As a teen, I got to attend a Barmitzvah. In some ways, a quince is the Christian form of this Jewish tradition. I do think honoring a child in this way can be significant. The real blessing to us came in that so many people came around us and helped make the day possible.

Abigail and Nathanael did a Father/daughter dance. Sorry about the photography. I had issues with the phone

Glendy was Abigail's madrina (godmother) and on top of it she planned all of the dances. Eve did all of the awesome decorations. Hermana Blanca and many other ladies in the church made the food. Pastor Ed and Dyna helped out with planning, renting tables and the sermon. Elizanie, my mom and Julie Groff were able to read verses to Abigail. Tim Groff took photos. Tanya helped with doing hair and opened her house to multiple people walking in and out all afternoon. Mariana and Rosa were the MC's and interpreted (into Spanish)

Julie and I try to navigate the bow on the back of Abigail's dress

Giani and Misael at practice. The court practiced about 15 hours of dances before the party

Jo interpreted for our church. What a blessing to celebrate and worship together as hearing and Deaf church.

Hector, Abigail and Glendy (the madrina and padrino)

Jose Luis and Zion

We are so thankful to those near and far who came to celebrate Abigail! In fact, my mom (Mary Ruth Ziegler) came down for 6 days surrounding the quince. She not only helped with makeup and washed my dishes, but she also helped complete the painting project that I'd been wanting to do for months now! Nathanael and I talked about her task-oriented nature :) (I do follow in her footsteps!) She didn't once complain about the heat. She and Julie helped put the curls in Abigail's hair. Of course, I just enjoyed being able to see her in person and hug her!
Abigail, Rosa, Mary Ruth, Mariana and Jo up front reading a verse

Benji and Selah

Abigail has set a precedent! We will see what the 2 more quince's we have will look like ;) I did talk a little with Zephaniah about how they really don't have a celebration for males. He said that when he turns 15, Nathanael and Misael will take him out for pizza. Then he wants them to sing happy birthday to him. We have 6 years to think about that. I am thankful at least one kid is thinking of a simple way to celebrate.

worship: the Deaf seating was on the left side of the church

Mary Ruth and Mariana

For now? Selah is already planning her quince!

Misael and Timothy holding Abigail during the dance

Sunday, May 19, 2019

connections through medical work

The middle of April arrived. Kids connect is something that the whole family really loves.  It was Selah's turn to join me.  Kids Konnect has graciously allowed Selah and I to ride the bus from the airport to Stann Creek. This is awesome because it means not waking up at 4:30 am to catch the bus!  TJ was returning to Dangriga. Other than the very full bus, the trip(s) went without incident.
Selah playing with one of the dogs at Camp Legacy(where we stay during our time with Kids Konnect)

Selah and I found the best places in the bunks (I like to stay away from the blowing air conditioner).

Selah, TJ and I wait for the bus

Wednesday nights are usually spent organizing distributing medicines, and catching up with friends. April Kids Konnect has been extra special the past two years. Nursing students come and serve. It is fun to meet people at the beginning of their nursing journey.

Selah, the helpers and nursing students had a drawing competition

Clinic days for us went: Silk Grass village, Pomona, and St Augustine. Routine is familiar but the patients fluid. I really do enjoy being able to bounce back and forth between interpreting and doing triage. It gives variety. I also often get to follow the same Spanish speaking patients from triage, to see the doctor and hand them their medication in the pharmacy. I believe I have now been in Silk Grass 6 times. It delights me to return to the same place, getting to know the same people and ask them how their lives are progressing.
the table set up for triage

Friday Nathanael brought a (very full) van load of mostly Deaf people from Orange Walk. It was an interesting and full day. The funniest part was me attempting to interpret ASL. Apparently if I didn't know the word in sign language I was vocalizing the Spanish word. We are so thankful to the people at Kids Konnect for loving the Deaf and accommodating them.
Nathanael interpreting for an eye exam

the "seating chart" for the van ride up. 23 people in a 15 passenger van for 3 hours (each way!)

The best part of this process has been an open door for me. We have been able to speak into the medical parts of people's lives. We sit with them and discuss medications. It helps to have a basis of understanding of what their medical issues are.
the April group who served

The other exciting thing was Zepahniah got to stay from Fri-Sunday with us to visit with his good friend Tucker (another TCK) who lives at the camp. His parents serve with Kids Konnect. Zephaniah spent Saturday exploring the creek, riding bikes, and having dart gun fights. What a delight for an 8 year old boy!

Zephaniah and friends catching fish in a net in the river

Thanks Kids Konnect! What a delight to work with you!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Truly celebrating

After returning from the EMM retreat, we had a meeting Friday night for Bible Study and planning of our annual Resurrection day service. What I love is that others are willing to contribute and make food! We bring the van, drinks and paper products.

The spot at Honeycamp lagoon

Friday night after Bible Study, Nathanael got a text. The private beach we had planned to go to at Honey camp Lagoon wouldn't be available for us to us. Nathanael scrambled with Misael out to the Lagoon on Saturday and secured a different spot. It was unexpected but we are thankful the pieces fell into place!

Alva and her 2 children Josue and Keily

Sunday we were ready bright and early. It is always a bit strange to me picking people up. Nathanael does this job. I am the one who stays at church to clean or stay at the house on Friday to finish making dinner.  We had a full van but not as full as last year.

we found a way that everyone fit in the van!

It was awesome celebrating Resurrection Day as a church. Elizaine led 2 worship songs she had practiced. To that end, April 22 after much discussion Elmer, her boyfriend also gave his life to the Lord.  What an awesome thing to rejoice over!  We hope and pray that the discipleship process will lead them to desire marriage for them and for their new little one that is coming in July.

Elmer and Elizanie in February when Todd Miller came

After our Easter service, we shared a meal, had an egg hunt, and enjoyed the time at the lagoon.  What a blessing to celebrate in this way.

Kids lined up for an Easter egg hunt

enjoying the swim in the lagoon

Had anyone noticed the extra non-Belizean in the group?  TJ Groff was with us for the weekend so he could practice the dances for Abigail's quinceanera. It was a delight to have him with us. Please lift us up in prayer as the pieces fall together to celebrate Abigail. The event is May 18, a week and a half away.