Saturday, June 30, 2012

How to Catch a Mango

My mango tree produces the most preferred kind of mango.  It's huge, and full of yellow/orange pulp.  Even though it really matures in August or even September while the other mangoes mature in May and June, people come to my gate in May, when they see them large and green, hanging from the tree.   They shout "Miss, Miss, can I pleaaaasssse have some mango?"  If I come out to the gate and say, "Oh really, they are quite hard.  It is better to wait until they are more ripe", the SAME children or men will be at my gate tomorrow saying "Miss, Miss, can I pleaaaasssse have some mango?"

For the first couple of years here in Belize I tried hard to say firmly "We will wait."  But that takes so much energy.  At least 8 times a day a different group of children or adults will repeat the same refrain. At which point my dog runs our to the gate and barks at them (thinking he is "defending the fort").   I can't allow him to  frighten children, so more than 8 times a day I go out to the gate and say "Not today."

And then what is worse is while I am in bed at about 11:00 at night my dog (who sleeps inside because he gets covered with mosquito bites outside) often goes into a frenzy because some boys or neighbors or young men have jumped my fence and are knocking down the mangoes and stealing them.

So now after 6 years of mango protection and trying to wait to let them get even larger and ripen, I gave up this year.  I figured that I would be in Maine in July for 10 days and during that time surely some boys or men would jump my fence and strip the tree.  So this morning, when a fruit seller came to my gate with his wife, granddaughter and son saying, "Miss, Miss, can I pleaaaasssse have some mango? "  I said, "Take as many as you want."

While the Dad took a long stick to hook the mango by the stem, the son and wife "caught the mango" to keep them from hitting the ground and breaking.  They will get between $1 and $2 in the market for each one.  Some of the mangoes will be sold as a snack.  They will peal the skin off, and cut them up into small strips.  The "green mango" which is really a light orange in color, will be sold in "dolla" bags with chile-sal and lime on them.

It feels somewhat of a relief to have them all down, but I will sure miss them in August. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Just an Update

1st Row: Josue,, Raheem, Jahhed, Sulmi, Elizanie, Manuel, Misael, Alma.  2nd Row: Martha, Angelica, Yelitza, Alva, Kristel.   3rd Row: Yaniry, Edgar, Prudencio, Sherwin

 "I thank God for all of you because your faith is growing more and more.  The love you have for each other is increasing." (2Thes 1:3)

This Sunday we talked about what it means to grow in faith, and what it takes to grow.   I am seeing so much growth and want the whole gang to be open to letting God encourage them to mature in faith even more.

Edgar continues to resist the temptation to go drinking with another Deaf young man who tempted him last Friday.  (It was payday.)  He also has invited a homeless, orphaned, deaf young man (Prudencio, age 21) into his home.  They had met at Deaf Camp at CDI last summer. Edgar and Manuel are both sharing clothes and food with Prudencio, giving freely and generously.

Edgar's mother helped Prudencio sign up at the Town Council office to get a job cleaning the drainage ditches.  I thank God there was one available.  She said that Prudencio can continue to live at her house and pay a weekly sum from his earnings.  It looks like through the grace of God, Edgar and his mom, that Prudencio has found a "home".

Sherwin again confessed during church that he wants to walk the straight and narrow.  I think his confessions are honest, it's just very hard for him to re-make himself.  Jesus can help if Sherwin will let him.  But it is hard for Sherwin to let go of his "bad boy" attitude and behaviors. I am praying that he has the courage to listen to the Spirit of God.  I also remind him that God loves him even more than I do.  He's not beyond forgiveness.  It's good to see him come to church and "say the right things"...

Elizanie and Sulmi are praying at lunch in the school cafeteria.  They are the only ones who bow their heads and silently say a blessing before they eat. I asked them if the other people look at them and think they are weird or showing off.  Sulmi says she doesn't care what they think and tries to not draw attention to herself...she just pauses and closes her eyes for a few minutes.

At Girl's Night we had 10 women plus two babies! (A houseful!) We continue to study the Characteristics of God, so that we can learn specifically how to be like Him. This past week's focus was "Thankfulness".  The way it works is we pray, sing some songs, and then launch into the study. We close by praying for each person.  When the Bible study is over, we have a meal with beans as the mainstay (such as nachos).  After eating I start to clean up and  usually two or three of the women will help while the others try "not to help".  Hmmmm.  I usually give people jobs but they tend to feel "put upon".  I keep praying God will work this out and they will take responsibility without my telling them to.   SO.....this past Friday we were eating the nachos and most were finished when Alva handed her baby to Martha, got up and said "I'm doing dishes!"  In the 6 years that I have been leading Girl's Night, Alva has never helped without being asked.  A-maz-ing! 

So...all this growth is a good thing.  It gives me goosebumps to see how God is so present with us, but I'm also reminded that we ALL (me included)  have a long way to go.  Thanks for your continued prayers that we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.