Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mountains and Valleys

A moment during worship.

It's been a while since I have updated this blog. We've had some ups and downs. On the "up" side, Manuel came to church again for the first time in a year (almost to the day). He was the first person to ask for baptism and a leader of the group. But the conflict in the "twenty-something" age group bothered him and he left. After a few months he tried out the Jehovah's Witnesses deaf group. Two weeks ago he came to church again...prayed and asked to lead a song. I'd like to see him give a testimony of why he left and why he came back. I think we need to be transparent in that way...to really be church family.

This is a picture of Kristen keeping herself busy during Girl's Night Bible Study.

Precious moments:

Sulmi and Luis were working together this morning in school. Just about anyone who works with Luis usually ends up fighting over something petty. Before they broke into pairs to practice spelling words I pulled Luis and Sulmi aside and I told them I had confidence that they are both mature enough to bear with each others faults and not make anything a big issue. They agreed. Somehow, miraculously, maybe the first time this year, Luis was able to get through the morning activities with a partner and not fight. Afterwards I told them how impressed I was and asked them “What was your secret? How did you do it?” Sulmi said, “It’s because last Sunday Pastor Chon laid his hands on me and prayed. So God helped me." Sulmi is such a blessing to me.

Kristel is signing "love" from the song "We are one in the Spirit.

Tonight Kristel was on her own to find something to do. I was making dog food and Sulmi was in the shower. When I turned to see what Kristel was up to, she had our song sheets and was singing her heart out. Sulmi finished her shower and joined her. It was a precious moment. I pray and pray that when they grow up they will love the Lord as much as they do right now.

A raunchy moment:

Four weeks ago Sunday two deaf, teenage boys pummeled my cat with hard green “plums” (more like small apples). The cat ran into a hole. The hole was full of fire ants so she ran back out again, BUT, the teen boys blocked the exit with a huge rock and watched her claw and claw to try and get out until her nails were gone and her paws were raw. Then they left her there blocked in the hole with the ants. I didn’t know about it. I was inside washing dishes with several others. Three hours later after driving people home and returning I called for the cat. When she did not come I knew something was wrong and summoned a boy who lives close to tell me what happened. We found her but, the rock they had shoved over the opening broke her left front leg. She had fire ant bites all over her body, eyes, ears, toes, and bites upon bites on her stomach. She has recovered except for the broken leg.

When I found her I screamed…my thoughts were filled with the image of her being bitten and trying to get out and not being able to escape. I was so angry. I hated the boys. I hated that they could hurt something innocent. I felt like quitting the ministry. Have they learned nothing? Then...how could I minister to people I hate? How can I minister and be a person capable of hate?

By that evening, God’s spirit had washed over me and gave me peace. That sounds hokey but there’s no other way to say that about four hours later I had let go of the hate and anger and was trying to figure out HOW something so awful could happen?

One mother of the boys told me, “Well, (her son) really hates cats.” As if that were an excuse for the behavior. She didn’t really think of it as “wrong”. I guess cats, here in Belize, to many are like rats. They’re dirty, they eat garbage, they carry lice and diseases. They are “bad”. Dogs are pets. Few people have cats for pets.

In my prayers I was saying “WHY?” Why God would you let this happen? Couldn’t you have gotten my attention some other way? The answer I got was that something needs to change with our church. It’s not going to work meeting at my house. When I prayed with others about this whole event, the overwhelming answer was: You need to move into a church building.

But what building? We can’t pay rent on a building. Few of our members work, so their offerings are coins each week. How can we move into a church building?

Last week I was talking with Pastor Chon, the Belizean pastor of the Spanish speaking Mennonite Church called Life Changing Ministries. He told me that his church was changing the times for worship and dropping their morning worship time.

(Thanks Phyllis for taking this picture.)

"God can do anything, you know---far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!" (Eph 3:20) The Message version

I never, ever would have imagined that they would change their worship from the standard times everyone uses. After he finished saying this he realized that Jesus Deaf Church could worship at their church in the morning. He said we could have the building to ourselves Sunday mornings (rent free). Then he paused and said, "That’s perfect timing." God’s timing... that their elders decided they want to change the worship times and we decided we need to meet in a church. So beginning in March we will move to a church building. Pastor Chon even said we could erect a sign. Had I found out later that they were changing their worship time, would we have moved to their church building anyway… even if the cat incident did not happen? Probably not. We were pretty settled and it seemed like there were too many questions involved with moving. So it’s interesting how God used that horrible, cruel, incident for our good and his purpose.

Please continue to pray for the teen boys who are violent and disrespectful. There are more issues than I could write in this very public forum. Pray that the Holy Spirit convicts them and leads them to choose to follow Jesus and show love to the others in the group. Pray that the others do not turn away from the church because of the behavior of some boys who are mean and threatening. Pray for wisdom for me and an openness and dependence on God's leading.

Peace, friends,



  1. I like this way of sending out your newsletter. Fabulously written, again! You are always on my heart and we continue to pray for unity and insight. Why were you making dog food?

  2. I wondered too, about how you make dog food.

    And yes, this is a great way to read your newsletter.

    You are such an effective communicator. You inspire me!

    Thanks for the reminder to keep praying for your work. God bless you!

  3. Nancy, thanks for the newsletter. I agree this is a great way to do it. Praise God for the use of the church building! What an awesome gift at this time! All God's best to you and your church.

  4. Nancy,
    thanks be to God for the new place to worship. It is a gift for you and for your whole church. I will write more in response at my blog.