Monday, May 25, 2009

Let the Festivities Begin!

While friends in the US celebrate Memorial Day, Belize celebrates a holiday, too. It's Sovereign's Day (the Queen's birthday). There are no parades or anything to bring recognition to the queen, but schools close and shops switch to holiday hours. Hooray for the Queen. I was ready for a holiday.

Last week was the Orange Walk Primary School Festival of Arts. Luis was one of the dancers from St. Peter's middle school division. They did a salsa. Luis can wiggle his hips and shimmy his shoulders with the best of them! After watching 30 groups dance, do dramatizations and sing until 10 PM on Wednesday night, Luis' group got a "call back" for Thursday night. He was so excited. From the 15 "golden" performances, 6 were selected to compete for the national crown in Belize City. Unfortunately Luis' group was not selected but the younger female dancers were chosen and will represent our school.

Saturday was the National Special Olympics! 400 Special Education athletes from all over Belize were here in Orange Walk for the event, along with their coaches and about 300 volunteers. It was a tremendous amount of work to prepare for the games and the food for everyone and I was just a coach, cook and "go-fer". Was it worth it? uhhhhhhh...ask me in a few weeks and I'm sure the resounding answer will be yes. Right now, I'm glad that today is the queen's birthday. Go Queen!

Sunday was supposed to be the kick-off worship event for the up-coming week called "Disabilities Awareness Week". All of the children in the Special Ed. classes and their teachers were supposed to go. The priest at our school was asked to make the worship something that the children could be a part of and enjoy. Something that would be meaningful for them. I cancelled Jesus' Deaf Church and sent notes to all the parents to bring their children to St. Peter's. Nicar, our intern from Gallaudet, was going to interpret.

On Sunday morning the priest held a baptism for a baby and only briefly mentioned Disability Awareness Week. Sigh...a missed opportunity to have our special ed. kids read the scripture, sign a song, and be part of the worship there. I was disappointed.

What's happening this week?
Monday: Did I mention today is a holiday? Hooray for Queen Elizabeth! We need some more Monarch or Prime Minster birthdays to celebrate. Maybe each Belize Prime Minster should get there own holiday! Yeehaw! (We've only had 4 different Prime Ministers so it's "do-able". Hooray for holidays!)
Tuesday is Movie Night: We will use a big sheet and an LCD projector to show the movie about Justin Yoder called Miracle in Lane 2.
Wednesday is a workshop for Special Education Teachers in Belize City.
Thursday is the annual Deaf Spelling Bee. Hipolito will compete in the senior division and Misael will compete in the junior division. They have been practicing since February.
Friday is a parade. Sulmi is the school queen so she will wear her pretty pink dress, cape, gloves and crown and ride in the back of Pastor Chon's pick up waving to the crowd while we walk behind.

Jesus Deaf Church
It's good to be in Pastor Chon's church building. To everyone it feels more like church. Many of the twenty-somethings have returned. I still want to see more commitment. Some still come to socialize. Our hour and a half goes by quickly. With eating lunch we were used to spending closer to three hours together. Yet it's more practical to have a snack instead of lunch and get everyone home to eat with their families. Pastor Chon is helping with driving half of the group home. The children and youth don't like that. They want lunch. They want to all be together. They want to all ride together. So there are still some bugs to work out. Yet, God is gracious and has given us this plan...we just need to adjust a little and maybe find ways to work in more "fellowship time".

Girl's Night (aka. Mom's Night Out)
Awesome! Last Friday we had 6 young moms and 7 children (all under the age of 3). Having a babysitter is not a Belizean way to do things....the children are usually just allowed to "play". But
it is so hard to Bible study because the mothers are distracted by the fights over toys, that I have hired a youth from Pastor Chon's church to babysit for us in my home. What a difference it makes!

We have been studying women in the Bible. Each week God finds a way to make the verses speak to us and to our situation. Please continue to pray for these women. I would love to see them not just "learn" but grow in grace and knowledge, to want to be a disciple and want to raise their children in a Christian home.

I'm coming home for two weeks! I'll be in Maine June 29-July 7 and in Lancaster, PA July 8 to 14. I can't wait to see you, to sniff Maine air, hug friends, walk country roads in Lancaster, and to worship with you at North Woolwich and in Lancaster. Soon and very soon. I can almost taste it.

Lancaster folk: I'm attending the EMM retreat for missionaries at Blackrock July 9 and 10 and and the Global Fair at LMHS on July 11. Let's plan some kind of IU13 teacher/terp/alum get together for Monday July 13 or Tuesday July 14. I can make Belizean food :-)...whatever. Get back to me it you have some thoughts. I would love to see everyone.

May the One who cared so much for you, that he gave up his life so you could be holy, fill your lives with his grace and peace,

I send you all love,

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