Monday, October 24, 2011

Preachin' and Praisin'

God is working overtime in this young man's life. Manuel and I met several times this week to pray and plan worship for this morning.  He picked the story of Gideon.  God called Gideon to lead the Israelites against the Midianites who had been stealing their crops for 7 years. All the Hebrew people were so terrified of the Midianites that they fled to the hills.  Gideon was scared, too, but stuck around hiding some grain when he was confronted by an Angel of the Lord who said, "God is with you mighty warrior."  Gideon wasn't a warrior or even brave and strong, but through several tests and miracles including winning the battle with only 300 men, God proved to Gideon that he was brave and strong because God was with him. This theme is resonating with Manuel as he finds his way and let's God lead him.

 On Tuesday when Manuel came to pray and eat supper with me he said he had been thinking about our singing during worship. For 7 years we have been singing the same 50 songs.  For several years it was comforting because during that time we learned the songs which made copying them in worship easier.  I try to spice it up by adding some new ones from time to time..but it seems that the "Catch 22" is people like the songs they know, but they get bored singing the same songs.  Manuel said that in his devotions he had been trying to sing the psalms.  He wants to introduce some psalms as part of worship. Many of the songs we sing come from the psalms, but Manuel's idea was that he wanted to pick up the Bible and start singing it. We practiced the first few verses of Psalm 9.  He sang it this morning for everyone, and then they joined in.  It was a little stiff, but we'll catch on. 

Friday, October 21, 2011


 This is Morine. She is the other deaf preschool child that I work with.  She is 4 years old and loves to learn.  She is picking up sign language so quickly.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Silly Girls and Smelly Markers

Every year around the third week of October, our school has a Harvest celebration in the chapel.  Each of the children are to decorate a box and bring canned goods that will be shared with "the poor".  (I can't think of many people who are poorer than the children themselves, but nevertheless, it is good to share and celebrate what God has given us.)  On Tuesday night before the Harvest worship, Sulmi and Gineli decorated shoe boxes for their offerings. I got out the smelly markers and they were using them to write on their boxes when Sulmi sniffed one, leaving a bright red mark on her nose. Then Gineli sniffed hers and left a blue mark..  We laughed at their funny noses and soon they were sniffing and dotting their noses with all the colors.  I thank God for their laughter and joy.  They make my world a happy place.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Using Our Assets

      Most of the people in Belize who don't have enough money to buy "anything they want" for supper, tend to eat flour tortilla and beans for la cena (the evening meal).  Knowing how to make tortilla is a lesson taught from mothers to their daughters and sometimes their sons as well.  You can make enough tortilla for a family of 6 with about $1.50 US and you don't even need a gas stove.  A fire works great.  Although I am a pretty good tortilla maker, it takes about an hour (or more) that i don't have.  When we have Girl's Night and need about 30, I buy them from a woman up the street.  They are delicious, fast, warm, ready to eat...and I feel good about helping the woman sustain her business.
      I am finally learning about this thing called the Kingdom.  One of the ways we recognize the Kingdom is here is how the community loves and helps each other.  I am also reading a book called When Helping Hurts How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor.   One of the concepts in the book is that we as missionaries are hurting the poor if we become their resource when there are assets in their community that they can use or develop. 

So...I started thinking about the tortilla for Bible study. I know that Angelica makes tortilla EVERY night.  She's good at it and could use the income.  Then I thought about Alva.  Alva was abandonned when she was 12 years old.  Her mother never taught her how to make tortilla.  She wants to learn.

Ah ha!  Praise God for shining a light on our paths.
Last week at Girl's Night I asked Anegelica if she would be willing to make the tortilla for the following week.  She said sure.  Then I asked her to teach Alva how.

So the girls decided to meet at Angelica's house.  When I picked them up, Alva was beeming.

At Girl's night we are learning about "worship". We read Psalm 145 and are making these embroidered plaques with a phrase from the psalm.  Again I was tempted to be the resource.  Kristel wanted to know how to make a stitch. I started to show her and Alva jumped I backed off thinking, "Right.  The older girls know. Let them be the resources."  That's empowering.   It builds self-esteem. I thank God for teaching me this lesson this week.  It will change how I minister.

D Boys, D Girls, and Drama (the good kind)

Praise God for the unity and cohesion we are feeling in our Jesus Deaf Church Community these days.  These pics are from last Sunday.  It was wonderful to have Fermin Cal visit.  He used to attend CDI (Deaf Mennonite School in Cayo, Belize) and has a good heart and depth of Bible knowledge, but he lives 2 hours away. I would love to see God bring him to Orange Walk and work with our leadership team.
The boys range in age from 8 to 30.

The girls (ages 5 to 26)...are wonderful conflict resolvers. They also take part whole-heartedly in dramatizing the scripture.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

100% Adorable

This is Glenford, one of the deaf three-year-olds that I am teaching.  Isn't he precious? 
 In the picture he is signing "eat".

Boyz Night

Whoooo hoo. Go God!   
Now that Manuel is coming to Boy's Night, he is inviting the other boys to come.  
We had a good time studying Psalm 145...and some of the many reasons God is great that are listed there.
After our study, we created a choral reading based on the psalm that the boys will sign in worship tomorrow.

 Alejandro turned 16 on Friday so we had a cake with candles to celebrate.   He was happy and everyone used their phones to take pictures.  When the evening was winding down, Juan, who has not been in church for about 2 months said, "Maybe I can work early tomorrow and be back in time to get to church."  Hmmm... God is Great!

Update Sunday October 2: Juan DID work early, leaving home at 4 AM to fungicide sugar cane so he could come to church at 10.  He particiaped in the choral reading AND gave encouragement to Alejandro. I am thrilled to see him walking in the Spirit again.  He seems happy again, too.