Tuesday, July 23, 2019

an open door

You may have noticed the pictures of Sandra. She is a Deaf woman who resides in  the town of Spanish Lookout. Spanish Lookout is a Mennonite colony in the middle of Belize.

Sandra has a unique story. She grew up in Guatemala as a Deaf child, with little language. At 15, she braved the journey alone to the Belizean border. She had heard about a school in Spanish lookout that teaches Deaf. She attended the school and lived with a host/foster family there.  She is now 38. She lives and works in the Spanish Lookout community.

Sandra, the first time she visited with the children

Sandra's story has many amazing twists and turns. God has used her in our lives and others.  About 6 months ago her host mom contacted us. Sandra is able to occasionally attend or church: Jesus Deaf Church in Orange Walk. When she comes it's a 3-hour trip, encompassing changing buses once and being aware of where to ask to be dropped off.  Mostly, Sandra stays in Spanish Lookout and attends church there.
Sandra came to our Easter service. Here we are at the Lagoon

The Deaf Church in Spanish Lookout was started because of the school for the Deaf there.  The group that does ministry in that area are some of the most conservative Mennonites living in Belize. They have done amazing things. The difficulty for some of the Deaf is to attend church requires conforming to the idea of wearing cape dresses, coverings as well as specific clothing for men.

Alva, Josue, Selena

Sandra's parents pastor a less conservative church. Her mother attempts to interpret, but this isn't her training. They were contacting us to wonder if we know of a Christian who would be able to interpret at Fountain of Life church on Sunday mornings.  There isn't one that we know of.
Elton and Misael

The conversation didn't end there. We were invited as a church to join them at Fountain of Life, (their church in Spanish Lookout), for worship.

On June 2, Nathanael navigated the Belizean highway, picking up 17 people along our way, arriving at Fountain of Life for their 9:30 am service.  Nathanael interpreted for the people we brought, Sandra, along with Deaf living in the area who don't feel welcome at the Spanish Lookout Mennonite Deaf church.
Manuel visiting with some Deaf from Spanish Lookout

Following the service, Fountain of Life prepared a lovely lunch.  We enjoyed the yummy food and fellowship.

Nathanael interpreting at Fontain of Life

Where does this leave us?  We feel called to continue the ministry. We want to navigate this with a lot of grace, without competition. We see it would be possible to attend Fountain of Life about once a month. This means we'd need the funding of 150$ for gas (there and back). In addition, it signifies that we are walking to a minefield spiritually speaking.

After lunch, some people from Fountain of Life prayed for Elizanie

We ask that you would pray with us. What does this open door mean for us? More importantly, what does God want to do? Thank you for joining with on this journey. We are excited about what God has planned.

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