Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little R & R

 Sulmi and I were invited to spend three days and two nights on Caye Caulker where Gineli's sister lives.  This is where Gineli goes on the weekends.  It was a fun adventure that required getting a taxi, riding the bus to Belize City, walking a mile, catching the water taxi to the island and being met by Gineli at the wharf. We had perfect weather and cool Caribbean breezes. The best part was being with Gineli and getting a feel for her island life alter ego.

This is the Water Taxi we road in.  

One night we had dinner at the Rainbow restaurant. It was a nice light supper right on the wharf.

I thought we would be staying in Gineli's sister's house, but they all live in one room behind the shop.  There was no room for Sulmi and me.  Gineli's sister, Maria so kindly got us a room in the hotel next to her shop.  It was great to be close and the room was comfortable and clean. In the picture Gineli is playing a video game and Sulmi  is watching.

This is Maria at the door to her meat and seafood shop.

Inside the shop...

Gineli clowning on one of the freezers signing "take a picture".

On the beach

Me smiling extra to make up for the girls who were goofing around making frowny, angry, gangsta faces.

We got a ten minute storm which brought cool breezes and threatening clouds.

During Easter, in my Deaf class, we used to make palm branch crosses.  As we walked past this bench, Gineli surprised me by sitting down and  making a couple of palm leaf crosses.  i was surprised she remembered how.  Then Sulmi followed suit. We placed the finished crosses in fences and other places while we walked around the island.

This guy is a "lobsta man".
He catches lobsters in these wooden traps. They are kind of a throw back to the old traps used on the Maine coast...with more right angles.

This is how he gets the traps to the boat (bicycle).

This looks almost familiar...

At night Sulmi and I walked to the other side of the island to watch the sunset from a dock. I took this shot, but she took the rest.

Spectacular light show!

I am with Jordy on the wharf as we are about to leave.  He is from a village near OW but came to the island for a vacation with his mother and to visit his aunt.  It seems he did not  know other children on Caye Caulker so somehow he adopted us,  just walked into our hotel room, sat down and said "hi".  We spent a lot of time with him. 

Sulmi and Gineli on the wharf just before we left.

Our last views of the island

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I love Holy Week. My sisters and 7 of our friends studied the 7 last word of Jesus from the cross the six weeks prior to Easter.  It kept me meditating on the sacrificial work that Jesus did on the cross.  The regular emails and thoughts from my sisters and friends put my attitude in the right place to celebrate Easter.  Thank you sisters! Thank you Jesus!

Maundy Thursday

We had 22 Deaf people at my house for the Lord's Supper.  We worshipped in song and prayer  and then Manuel led a sermon explaining the significance of the passover and the meaning of the bread and "wine"(grape juice).  Unfortunately I don't have pictures of our worship service because sometimes it feels that taking pictures ruins the worship moment.  BUT after the service we had a light meal (sandwiches and veggie dip) and I took some pictures to remember the day.

Misael and Rayan eat while watching Alejandro tell a story.

Felipe and Martha, aren't they a nice looking couple?  He's hard of hearing and she is more deaf and knows how to sign.  This was the first time they worshipped with us.  I hope they come back again.

Yelitza, her daughter Kristen, Alva and Alma.  This is the first time Alma worshipped with us, too.  Elizanie lives right next door to Alma and has been helping her learn ASL. Alma never went to school .  That sounds surprising but actually it is pretty typical of all of the Deaf in Belize over 25 years old. I love Alma's warmth for people. She's been coming to Girl's Night.

These three children belong to Selena.  Angelica is helping to get the children set up with food.  She is often thoughtful like that.

Good Friday Procession

 The Catholic Church has a procession through town that goes passed re-enactments of the 15 stages of the cross.  About 2000 people start at the Catholic church. As we walked the 2 miles we gained another thousand people along the route. When we arrived at one of the stations, there was a group of people reading a prayer or verses or giving an explanation of the station.  It's a nice reflective somber event.

Easter Sunday

Manuel told the Easter story with pictures (our projector had broken the week before  :-(
It was a great retelling and he asked enough questions that everyone was involved.  After the lesson, the six who came to my house on Saturday to practice, gave an Easter drama.  It was nice.
We lost power in the middle of it, which often happens on Sundays, but it didn't matter or affect the mood.  Some deaf traveled from far away to be part of our worship.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Learning Humble Leadership

A few weeks ago I felt a nudge from God that we need to be expanding the leadership in the church.  At the same time I thought that we should add a woman.  I prayed about it and Angelica seemed like the person God was going to tap for this role.  As has happened so many times, God told Manuel the same thing.  When we met the following Tuesday, I told him I have been praying about adding someone to the leadership team.  Before I could finish my sentence he said, "Me too and I think God wants us to choose Angelica."  Both of us broke out in goosebumps and praised God for giving us clarity.The next Sunday we announced that Manuel and I felt God's leading to add Angelica to the leadership team.  Everyone was supportive and some even clapped.

We usually have a footwashing service during Holy Week.  This year it seemed like the footwashing service would be a good time to welcome Angelica on the leadership team.  We brought her to the front of the church and everyone laid hands on her and prayed for her.  Usually we wash each others' feet, men on one side and women on the other.  This time Manuel preached from John 13 and explained the kind of leadership Jesus demonstrated to his disciples.  He asked for examples of humility and what humble leadership would look like.  Then Angelica and Manuel washed feet while I took pictures with eyes welled up with "happy tears".

God is doing a mighty work among us.

The Brothers

 I wasn't feeling well and asked Manuel to lead Boys Night last week. He decided to use some Bible Story Flash Cards and have the boys each select a card and tell or act out the story.  He did a good job of listening and encouraging. It was a fun night.

Why doesn't he lead every Saturday night?  I would LOVE it and I think he can, but he is reluctant sometimes.  Although God has brought him a long way from not being able to read at all to reading the CEV version of the Bible with a little help, he doesn't think he can teach from the Bible. He likes to dramatize stories, but we know the Chronological Bible stories through and through.  Manuel is watching the ASL Bible DVD some evenings on his own.  We need to find a way he can, with prayer, jump from his "watching the Bible" to leading a lesson about it. It will take some planning, some dedication, and lots of dependence on God's guidance.  I would really like to see him just totally take over the leadership of the Boyz Night lesson. On Thursday night at dinner we talk about what topic and verse to use.  Sometimes I feel it is such a hard "push" when I would rather it flowed and he just jumped at the ideas God would give him about the verse or topic.  Maybe I just need to create a vacuum and he will fall into it.  Maybe that's why Paul never stayed anywhere very long.

 Alejandro and Edgar.  Alejandro is totally bored with anything serious so he salts our Bible Study evening with lots of clowning around.  Edgar is growing in his walk with the Lord. Praise God that he is learning to make choices and not just follow the leader who seems more powerful. 

Luis comes all the way form San Jose on a bus and sleeps overnight with one of his three aunts in Orange Walk. He wants to be baptized in May.  Pray that he can keep his commitment to the Lord even when no one is watching.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Already?

There are several pictures in my camera that give a glimpse of the Lord's work here in Belize and life in my house.   None of the pictures are enough for a whole post so I have decided to throw them together and add a caption here and there.  Thanks for your prayers and walking this faith journey with me and all of us at Jesus' Deaf Church.

This is Ezekiel. He is 26.  I met him at a workshop for deaf children in Corozal.  He lives with his mother and father in a small village. His mother said he is deaf and wanted him to learn to sign.  I said I would help... but quickly found out he is not deaf.  He has autism. Colleen Richard is a Peace Corps worker who has extensive knowledge in working with autistic kids, but her term ends next month. So I asked her to teach me how to teach him. For now we teach him together about once a week.

Now we have a two week Easter holiday.  So nice :-)
Sulmi finds lots of things to do like color in the color by number bird book that Carol Rhodes gave her, and rake the yard, pick limes, play on the computer, swim, and visit Kristel or Angelica. Next week we will spend three days on the island of Caye Caulker visiting Gineli.

Alva likes to write poetry. The English is not always exact but the sentiment is clear. At Girl's Night she often brings a poem to give to someone as a gift.  Last week was my turn :-)

I wish I could bottle up the sweet smell that these cashew blossoms give off.  It is not over-powering like lilac and hyacinth can be sometimes.  Reinalda has this tree right at her back door.   It's lovely. You can see the cashew fruit above the nut.  The little green orbs will grow and change to the pretty red, pear-sized fruit.  For such a sweet smelling blossom, it's surprising that the fruits has sort of a sour, fermented taste to it.  Most people use it to make cashew wine. 

This is my dog Gabriel in a lot of pain. He spent about 36 hours gagging and vomiting. Evidently he ate something that he couldn't pass. He was in so much pain. The vet gave him something to relax him a little and he is now much better and drinking and eating a little bit.  Thanks for praying. It's ridiculous and I wonder about the wisdom of it all but he is like a child to me.

The school garden is "in between" plantings.  We had lots of success with carrots and cilantro, tomatoes and black beans.  But now that we are in the dry season, the days are SUNNY and HOT... so hot that only the habenero peppers can survive the heat. So we are waiting for it to rain and we will plant again.  The rains will come mid-May (we hope).  Misael loves to help in the garden.  Here he is watering the habenero peppers.

Grafitti is part of life here.  Most of it is some kind of gang thing.  But this one, I love.  I love how the writer got carried away with the o's.  They wander up the wall to the right until he runs out of paint.
Te Amo Muchisimoooooooooooo!