Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Bestie

I thank God for Deb Hoffer.  She has traveled the world with me, literally.  She knows my weaknesses and still loves me. (Amazing grace!)  She gave up her vacation time and money to come to Belize to see my ordination.  I am awed by her faithfulness and blessed by her friendship. Thank you God for giving me this true friend.  Here are some pics of her reading a story about Helen Keller to Elizanie and Sulmi.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Give Me Some of that Living Water!

On Sunday we dramatized the story of the Samaritan women at the well. It's a multi-faceted story where Jesus tells a non-jewish woman that he is the Messiah, he shows a total lack of prejudice to Samaritans, he explains that where we worship is not important and that true worship is where the worshippers seek God in Spirit and truth, and in the end the woman models the the joy of telling others that she has met Jesus and that he is the source of living water.  Ahhh, this one story could be the topic of sermons for many Sundays.  Last week I focused on defining what Jesus meant by "living water".  Lord, I pray that these leaders who dramatized Jesus' conversation with the woman at the well would thirst for your living water, your word, your truth, your peace, faith in you and eternal life. I pray that this living water would spring up inside of them and overflow. I pray that in acting out the story, some of your living water took up residence in their hearts.  

 Chelsea and her friend Rachel Koons, joined the drama as the townspeople.  After the woman learned that Jesus was the Messiah, she ran and told everyone to come and meet the Messiah...and they came in awe, listening to him for 2 days...begging for more.  It was great to have Rachel with us.

Since I had the camera with me,  we took a group picture...but oops too late, Alva, her son, and Martha had already left.  I'll bring the camera again soon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Ordination

Whew!  I am now officially Pastor Nancy.  I had the sense that Jesus ordained me for this ministry in 2005 when we started Jesus' Deaf Church.  Back then I was wondering if Jesus had picked the right person and if I as a woman could (should) pastor a church in Belize. Many Evangelical Mennonites here gave me tremendous support.  Some others told me that the church should wait for a man.   But I knew God had called me.  I knew God established our church in his timing, this timing...not mine.  So I forged ahead and led worship and ministered and preached and counseled and prayed and even led a funeral.  Eight and a half years later on March 2, 2014, we did the ceremony, signed the papers, and I was officially licensed.  I even was given an official  "Pastor Nancy Marshall" card to carry in my wallet.  Maybe it will get me into the hospital outside of visiting hours...I wonder...  

The "Ordination Weekend" was blessed by visitors from the states as well as people from our Deaf Church and St. Peter's School.  Below you will see pictures of the worship service.
This is me introducing the day.  Note that we now have a projection screen...It's a gift from Pastor Rob Henderson at Lord of Life Church in Ohio.

Galen and Gloria Lehman came from VMM.  It was a great affirmation to have them at my ordination.

Kathy led the children in "God is so Good".

I preached: sharing my call and telling everyone that they also have a call on their lives to serve God. God promised to walk with them and help them.

Deb Hoffer read a letter of support from First Deaf Mennonite Church in Lancaster.

Galen Lehman read from 1st Timothy 4 about the character of a church leader.

Pastor Fernando Blanco gave words of affirmation and then proceeded with the Order of Ordination.  Pastor Blanco is the Preseident of the BEMC and pastors the Mennonite Church at August Pine Ridge.  He spoke in Spanish, Tomas Torres translated the entire worship into Spanish for those whose heart language is Spanish.  Chelsea listened to Tomas' translation and translated into ASL. I am very grateful to both Chelsea and Tomas for making the service accessible in English, Spanish, and ASL.

Pastor Blanco  read the order of Ordination.

Our Deaf Church and everyone present laid hands on me and prayed for me.  My eyes are open because we are watching the interpreter to know what is being said.

Pastor Blanco, handed my Bible to me as a token of my work... to share God's Word while Tomas translated into English and Galen stepped in momentarily to interpret.

The Leaders of our church signed the Certificate of License.  This is Manuel Tosh.

This is Angelica Alvarado.

Pastor Ramon Castelleanos made sure I signed on the right line.  He is the Vice-President of the BEMC and the Pastor of the San Felipe Mennonite Church.
 Chelsea had the sweet idea to have the children at St. Peter's Anglican School create posters to say congratulations to me.  She mounted them all around the church and then posted them on the wall in my house.  That was a nice affirmation.
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So there it is...the official document.
I thank everyone for making this a special day for me.  I thank Kathy Miller for taking care of the children during our worship so that they would not have to sit for a long time and we would not be distracted.  I thank Tomas Torres for interpreting everything from English to Spanish and vice-versa. I thank Chelsea Kobylarz for translating everything from ASL to English.   I thank Deb Hoffer, Gloria and Galen Lehman and Martin Rhodes for coming to Belize to be part of this event. And I thank Martin Rhodes for taking pictures and letting me use them here in the blog.  God is faithful.  I pray that I am worthy of this call.