Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What do YOU do when the electricity goes off?

The electricity goes off in Belize quite often.  Sometimes it is for a few minutes and other times it is for 6 to 8 hours.  Last week the electricity went off at 7 PM just after we had finished eating. It was total darkness.  Sulmi and I felt our way to the bathroom where I keep flashlights and candles on the shelf.  While I got busy lighting candles... Sulmi did the dishes "by flashlight".  The picture doesn't really portray the moment because the flash in my camera made it look bright.  Imagine this with just the light of that little blue flashlight under her chin. I laughed thinking...who does dishes by flashlight?

Later we tried to sign in the darkness by the light of the candles. Sulmi liked the smell of this "Christmas Cookie" candle and held it up to her nose.  It lit her face in the darkness.  About ten minutes later the power came back on.  I thought, ah shucks...this was fun :-)  Sulmi thought I was weird and walked into the living room to watch TV.  Hmmmm... I wish they would cut the power in the evening more often.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

An-ti-ci-pa-tion It's making me wait!

When the girls came home from school I had their Christmas presents wrapped and under the tree. They noticed them right away and sat down under the tree to look at them.  They started shaking them and trying to guess what was inside.  Because Gineli was leaving on Friday for the island with her sister, we decided to open presents on Friday morning.  I made French Toast and we invited Kristel to come over to open hers at the same time. 

Gineli and Sulmi sign, "What's this?  What's inside?"

When I was a little girl my mother used to keep the presents in the attic, where my bedroom was. Once or twice I went into the storage room to see gawk at the shopping bags and to wonder...but I never peeked. Surprising, huh?  I like the anticipation, the guessing, the waiting and the surprise.  It was fun to watch the girls guess... and to each guess I replied, "Hmmm could be."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Farewell Hipolito

Today we prayed for Hipolito and said goodbye to him.  He got a Visa stamp in his passport and will be going to the US to live with his father and older Deaf brother who are already there.  We prayed that he will continue to seek God.  I also pray that he will be able to attend the Texas School for the Deaf in San Antonio.
We will miss him terribly!

Just a side note, we can't figure out what the light is that is shining on him.  It's in all of the pictures we took while he was sitting in the chair.  We were under an overhang and the sun was directly overhead.  Hmmm.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The Angels on TV do miraculous things and try to set people on the right path.  They look like people until they speak God's words.  At that point they glow. Then they walk off into the distance and disappear.
The angels in the Christmas story are a little different.  Angel Gabriel is a messenger from God. He comes. He glows (with the glory of God, we imagine). And he tells a message from God.  Then he leaves. A whole slew of angels appear to the shepherds.  Only one tells a message from God while the others sing praises to God. In our imaginations and paintings...they also seem to glow.  The thing that is different is these Christmas angels always look like angels...not like people who transform into angels at some opportune moment.   For Girl's Night we talked about angels, our perceptions and the angels we encounter in the Christmas story.  The we made these cute (simple) angels from coffee filters.   *(see note)

*Just a little more info...There are also angels in the Bible who look like men and women.  Abraham and Sarah were visited by three men (who didn't  Abraham recognized them as angels.  Hebrews 13:2 says, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so you may be entertaining angels unaware."
Hmmm Angels... I think they come to share a message from God...something grab our attention.  Their purpose seems to be to make us know definitively something God wants us to know in a way that is much louder than the still, small voice in our heads.

Thank you Father for being a God who wants so much to communicate with us, to guide us, and redeem us that you send angel messengers and even your "son", your incarnate self.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Decorating the Christmas Tree

On Monday night Gineli, Sulmi and I had fun decorating our Christmas tree.  My old tree had been in my classroom for 6 years so it was showing a bit of wear and was kind of small. Impulsively we decided to use the money that my sister sent me to buy a new one on the way home from school.
Sorry this is fuzzy...but it captures exactly what the girls think of our old Christmas tree.

...and what they think of the new one they just decorated :-)


This is "Sweetie" our 6 year old cat. It makes us laugh when we see her try to circle around and get comfortable in this much too small basket.  It's as if she doesn't know how big she really is.

I had a similar experience at the spelling bee. As we were all waiting for the bus to come and take us home, I sat on the bleachers.  I was holding Sulmi's trophy and other stuff so she could talk "hands free" to the other students.  A young boy entered the gym with his class to prepare for a holiday program practice.  He came over to me and said, "Was there some kind of competition here?"

I said, "Yes, a Spelling Bee for the Deaf."

He thought a moment and looked at me with the trophy and said, "So did you win?"

I pointed to Sulmi and said, "That girl with the white shirt, signing with her friends, won."

He nodded a few times,but didn't dismiss the conversation. I could see another question was brewing and thought he was going to ask about deafness, but instead he said, "So, are you her grandmother?"

Ha! GRANDMOTHER, wow! I was not ready for that one :-)  Do I look like a grandmother? My perception is that I am still more like a mother. Hmmmm.  Maybe not.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Newest Addition to Our Church Family

Thank you, God for Alva's new, beautiful, baby boy.  She named him Josue. ("Joshua" in Spanish).

And The Winner Is .......Sulmi!

Sulmi is fourth form the left.  There were about 300 people in the audience.
Hooray for Sulmi. She won the National Spelling Bee for the Deaf.  Every year the Ministry of Special Education and Crystal Water team up to host a spelling bee for the deaf children around the country.  There are two divisions: Juniors-ages 10 and under, and Seniors-ages 11-16.  Sulmi is 12 and she beat out 8 other contestants most of whom were older than she.
  I am so proud of her. We practiced a set of over 300 words for two months and she knew them all by the day of the event.  Many of the deaf adults from our church came to cheer her on. At first she was nervous to see Mario, Edgar, Manuel, Angelica, Elton and Kelsey in the bleachers...but by the third word she was confident and on a roll.

Sulmi with her medal and trophy.

Boyz Night

Manuel, Ry, Edgar, Alejandro, Mario, Sair, Sherwin
Boyz Night keeps growing. Most of these boys used to spend their Saturday nights drinking at the Akihito Hotel, and when they were kicked out at 11, they would mosey on down to one of the other bars in town.  Now they are coming here to Bible study.  Amazing, huh? God is doing a mighty work among them. There are still other Deaf young men in our community.  Pray that they find learning about Jesus more interesting than drinking their paycheck.

Samnang's 21st Birthday Party

Samnang wanted to have a birthday party to celebrate turning 21. She doesn't have any family (sorry I can't explain the background here), so she asked me to help her throw the party. She came early and helped cook all of the food and even bought some of it. It was fun to plan and anticipate the BIG day with her. She started out saying, "A small party...not many people."  The next day she would come to my house or we would meet for our weekly "tea and chat" and she would give me a new list of who she wanted to invite.  The list grew, but I didn't care.  It was a great day for her.

Sam and Neldo
Angelica and Juan

Yaniry.  It was great to see Yaniry come.  She doesn't hang around the "church crowd" but came for the party.  After the party she came to church the following two Sundays.

After we ate, we had nothing planned.  As people started to leave Elton said, "Quick, think up a game!" He said, "How about charades?"   So I divided the group of about 18 into two teams.  I quickly wrote movies or books or people I thought they would know on paper. A few dramatized while the others tried to guess...It seemed no one wanted to play as teams and everyone wanted to guess.  Quickly the game took on a personality of its own and people were popping up with their own ideas to dramatize and have people guess. It went on for 2 hours (!!)  It was so much fun.  People were talking about it the next day at church.  Manuel was really good at thinking up ideas and dramatizing them.
Alva and me.

The whole gang (except the photographer)...everyone a little tired... at the end of the party.