Adventure Update 9-18

There’s no place like home….fortunately for us and our family that is where we are.  Belize just feels like home to us.  We aren’t sure when it started probably for me it was sometime this spring or summer, for Amy it started when we received our household goods.  I KNOW that it continued when we got internet and felt like we could freely communicate with our friends.  And now we are starting to get a routine to our days and make new friends here as well.  Sure there are challenges and definite frustrations, still getting used to the heat, the Belizean pace of life is a thing to adjust to as well (especially for two adults who are doers) but we are really feeling at home here which is we know only from the Lord.

Man we had a full weekend and start to this week.  For starters….

  • We got internet on Friday! YAY!
  • Then Saturday we went to Orange Walk to visit Pastor Ed Perez and the children’s ministry that the Lord has laid on his heart.
    • Let me take a moment to explain to you how dynamic this ministry is and revolutionary to the country of Belize.  Pastor believes that he can change Belize and all of Central America one child’s life at a time.  The Lord gave him that vision and he started in June 2011 hosting kids every Saturday at his house for games and Bible story.  That grew into what is now 3 children’s ministry sites with between 120 – 150 kids every Saturday.  Pastor has held training conferences for teachers from over 36 churches and trained over 200 teachers in what he has learned in doing children’s ministry. And it’s not just programming that is amazing (which it is on a budget of nothing at that!); it’s the organization and record keeping. They have information and track by hand every person who attended where they are on their spiritual walk, who their parents are, where they go to church, etc.  It is amazing!  In fact he is holding a teacher’s training in October where he is expecting 50 churches to attend with somewhere between 120 – 150 teachers!  Praise God for this man!
  • Saturday night we ate Fry fish, fry beans, tortillas and cake with Jenecia (a PPM assistant trip leader) and her sister and sister’s family.  Amy, the kids, and I had a great time!  They had a 2 year old Xander that Madeline played with the whole time (well when she wasn’t eating fresh tortillas….we lost count after she ate the fourth one)
  • Sunday – we headed to the Hattieville Park thinking that we were going to go watch a futbol game but it ended up being the day for the Hattieville Carnival (think Rio de Janiero Carnival, big costumes, loud music, dancing games).  We stayed for a little bit and grabbed some BBQ for dinner that night.  Carnival was an experience that’s for sure!  We then went to church that night to listen to our friend Pastor Mark bring it!
  • Monday – after taking Amy around in the city for groceries and touring we came back and our neighbors invited us over for dinner! So we ate with them!

As you all can see the Belizean hospitality is shining brightly.  Amy and I are learning to make Belizean dishes.  Amy learned to make powder buns from the women at church on Thursday night (think of a southern biscuit but with sugar and really flaky) and just this morning she made her first batch of flower tortillas!  Our Belizean friends are teaching us to cook but have asked that we teach them our favorite American dishes.  Please send in your suggestions for what we can teach our Belizean friends to cook (so far we have chicken and dumplings, snickerdoodle cookies, and meat loaf!)

The kids….

  • Are doing great.  Madeline talks ALL the time.  She loves to talk and ask questions.  Her favorite questions are “What is your name?  How old are you? And where do you live?”  Joseph and Madeline play chase all the time in the house which is a riot to watch and they love 4-5PM every day when they have dance party while Amy and I fix dinner!  Praise God for such amazing children!

How God is teaching us?

Amy and I are reading through Thessalonians together.  As I read those letters I was amazed by the encouragement that the church provided Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  The church was known throughout all of Macedonia.  They weren’t known for their music or dynamic teaching or gimmicks; they were known by the love of Christ and their life change.  Here is what Paul said…

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:8 – your faith in God has gone forth everywhere…for they themselves report…how you turned to God away from idols to serve the living and true God
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:7 – you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 – your faith is growing abundantly because of the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.  Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness in faith

I then thought back to the first church in Acts and how they were known through the region because of the love of Christ.  And I was convicted and motivated.  Praying Pelican Missions exists to encourage the local churches in the countries and communities that we serve.  Encouraging the local pastors and churches is THE REASON our family is living in Belize.  I don’t spend enough time thinking through what this means, not enough time in prayer over how to do this.  I thought how awesome would it be if Hattieville Baptist Church was known from Belmopan to Belize City because of their love in Christ.  How awesome would it be if all the churches in Belize were known for that?  My prayer this morning and I ask that you pray with me is that the love of Christ would pour out of the churches in Belize and that the Lord would give our family the wisdom to encourage them to love more and more boldly, loving each other, real people where they really are and that Belize would catch the fire of Christ’s love through the local churches…just like Macedonia through Thessalonica.

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  • Belize
    • Eustace – for our family to be an encouragement to him and his family.  He is out of work and feeling down.  Pray for Eustace to get a job that would allow him to continue attending Bible college.
    • Pastor Ed – is holding a teachers conference in October. We are praying for 50 churches to be represented and 150 teachers.  Also, he has asked me to share some of my kids’ ministry experiences as well at the conference…be lifting that up!
    • Hattieville Baptist Church – For it to be a light to Hattieville for the love of Christ to flow out of them. Also, I am preaching this Sunday night at church so be lifting me up in my preparations this week.
    • Pastor Mark Update – his family situation seems to have calmed down. He is getting ready to have some time off of work.  Pray that this time is refreshing.
    • Work – As I start to get my wheels going into work, pray for continued diligence and the appropriate work life balance (I tend to skew towards working too much). Write me and ask how I am doing in that!
  • Personal
    • For accountability partners in Belize – Amy and I are searching for people we can have honest conversations with about how we are doing with everything on a weekly basis.  Pray for wisdom as we meet people and start to seek those partnerships
    • Support Raising– We are seeking to get more monthly supporters, either on board now, or pledged to be a monthly financial partner next year.  We are praying to have 60% of our financial support come from monthly gifts by the end of next month.
    • Crazy Granny – my grandmother, crazy granny as many of you know her as, fell and broke her hip.  This is causing a great deal of anxiety and stress on my mom and dad.  Please pray for my mom and dad that they would find time to rest in spite of this situation and that they would have wisdom in their decisions regarding Crazy Granny’s health care.

Thank you for your continued notes of encouragement and love.  Amy and I read and cherish each one.  We are so blessed to be home here in Belize!  We love you all!

 

Because They Haven’t Heard

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Pictures of Home

This post is for those of you all that don’t use Facebook because I posted most of these pictures already on Facebook.  Here are pictures of the house!!  I can’t give enough credit to my wife.  Amy did a FANTASTIC job hanging the pictures, organizing the cabinets, and in general making this house a home!  She is a rock star for sure!

Onto the slideshow…

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First 2 weeks

The entire time we have been on this journey people have said to me you are sacrificing so much (comforts of a very nice house, friends,  family near by, Josh’s well paying job, air conditioning :), and so many things I have now realized I wouldn’t have missed) but I know that God sacrificed much more by giving his one and only son for us and that was my mind set.  I will admit these 2 weeks especially the first week it hit me that I was not ready fully for what I had to deal with.  The first week was hard VERY hard.  I then decided to read Tortured for Christ to get my perspective right.  It is about a missionary in Communist Romania who literally was tortured for years because he shared his love for Jesus.  Lets just say that put my perspective back in check.

Here are some highlights and lowlights :

-we had a Pack and Play when we got here for Joseph

-we had nothing to cook with since our stuff didn’t get here until Saturday

-grocery shopping is a whole new experience here, especially when you have nothing to cook with or cut with

-no air conditioning and trying to keep the kids and me cool, Josh has no issue with it but Joseph and I had a terrible time.  We are much better now

-watching the kids play with each other and the only toys they had were 4 matchbox cars, 2 small balls, and a few books. Madeline almost exploded when her “new” (as she thought) toys came on Saturday

-kids sleeping in separate rooms which meant we got to sleep through the night for the first time in a month because Joseph didn’t wake up Madeline

-Prayer night with the ladies, they pray every other Thursday for various things, the sick, government, armed forces.  It was an amazing thing to be a part of and made me realize how selfish my prayer life is

-having no control over things like:
~being left with the kids with no phone and no car because Josh had to go into the city to clear up a bunch of stuff like electricity or internet
~learning to work through plumbing issues (having a new house in the States we never dealt with these sorts of things if anything was wrong to begin with someone came and fixed it for free),

-the constant battle with ants, Josh is determined to kill them all but he is fighting a battle he will never fully win

All in all the first 2 weeks have been an adjustment.  Once we got our house setup and internet I have felt like it is more like home.  There is no doubt in mind that God wants us here and this part of our adventure of our life on Earth will be a great one.

 

Adventure Update 9-12-2012

I am currently writing this update from the Belize Praying Pelican Office Headquarters, also known as my desk in our bedroom here in Belize.  I am writing in the hope that our internet is set up tomorrow and then I can upload. For pictures please check our Facebook .

Since last Tuesday a lot has happened.  Highlights are as follows…

–          Adjustment to the heat of Belize.  Basically we sweat all the time which is fine!

–          Finding a church home at Hattieville Baptist Church and attending Wednesday night Bible Study, Thursday night womens’ group and Sunday services.

–          Receipt of our container of goods and the set-up of our home (thanks to Amy decorating).

–          Putting the kids in two separate rooms and having them sleep much better, hate to admit that my mom was right.  UGH!

–          Going around and visiting our Belizean friends and letting them know we are here.

–          The price of fruits: 7 bananas or 6 oranges for 50 cents US, avocados the size of softballs for 50 cents, whole pineapples for 1.50 US. Needless to say we are eating A LOT of those things.

–          The park – Madeline loves the basketball court and soccer field in Hattieville (the park). We run up and down the bleachers, do sprints on the bball court and pick A LOT of flowers.  Jojo pretty much just crawls around but it is a big family outing.

Challenges….we have our share of learning experiences like….

–          Our hot water smells, like sulfur, or rotten eggs. We don’t know what it is. We have tried to drain the Hot water heater, running the water for 20 or so minutes, nothing works. It may get slightly better and then if you turn it on again the smell returns. Good thing is the cold smells fine so everyone takes cold showers and baths.

–          Everything seems to be plumbed to one central line. So when we wash clothes, the drained water from the washing machine backs up into all of the drains in the house.  But it means we clean the tubs more frequently.

–          We didn’t know what to do with the trash until yesterday.  We had all this trash from cooking in the back of my truck but I found a dump yesterday and took it there! YAY!

–          Sandfleas – they bite around our ankles and it itches!!

All in all things here in Belize are good.  It is definitely emotional and different than I thought it would be but not in a things are terrible way just in a things are different.  But we are called to be here and are excited to see what the Lord has in store!

How God is teaching us?

I am continually learning about the power of prayer and how important praying in faith is.

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need”

The key phrase is with confidence.  We must pray fervently with confidence and faith that the Lord will answer.

Here is another verse this time from James 5:

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  Elijah was a man with nature like ours and he prayed fervently that it may not rain and for three years it did not rain on the earth.  Then he prayed again and heaven gave rain and the earth bore it’s fruit.

The fact is that I used to not believe that. I thought that my prayers were too silly, not important enough to God.  I was devaluing my prayers before I even approached throne of grace.  This experience is growing me.

In the past week or so….here are some of my prayers and how God responded.

  1. Customs accepting a credit card – We got the notice from customs that our duties for our container would wipe out our entire cash supply here.  And since bank accounts take 2  – 3  weeks to set up and we didn’t have any way to get money wired here.  I just started to pray, Lord please allow customs to accept this payment with a credit card.  I knew that the Lord would NOT have put us here with the burden of no money for food, gas, etc.  SO I prayed.  I prayed when I called the credit card company to ask them.  I prayed when I handed my card to the customs cashier and I praised God when the transaction went through!  The power of prayer!  Pray with faith that the Lord will answer.
  2. On the dock – So at the port they had to open our container and a customs officer has the opportunity to go through all of our belongings and grill us.  I was praying as the container was being opened and we waited for the customs officer to come up, Lord give me peace, show me you are here.  I look over at some guys who are unloading another container and this Belizean turns around and is wearing an NC State hat!  Our college from our hometown!  The peace of God just flooded over me, as if he was saying, Josh I got this.  The inspector looked at one box, said welcome to Belize and left!  Praise God!
  3. Monday Night Stomach Distress – Now those who know me know that my stomach is the strongest stomach that one could have.  Monday night I went to play ball and my stomach was killing me. I thought it was nerves (I still get nervous going to play ball) and it went away when playing (I played well by the way and didn’t open my mouth once!).  Anyway I get home and stomach distress hits me in the face.  I run to the bathroom and think that I am going to be sick.  I get Amy to get some plastic bags and some medicine ready and I wait.  I don’t get sick then.  I crawl into bed and I PRAY.  I prayed for Him to remove this stomach issue all together I even prayed if it is not your will for this to be taken away.  I just pray I don’t throw up because well that is gross.  The Lord gave me a peace and I went to sleep that night woke up the next morning and the stomach distress was totally gone!

There are a few other examples to go through but if I wrote of all the ways I have seen the Lord deliver here this update would be too long it already is….  Just know that I know I know I know that the Lord desires that we approach His throne of grace and mercy with confidence and we pray with FAITH.  The Lord will answer.  I don’t pretend to think that the answer is always Yes.  But I do know that I am going to ask God in faith!  Praise be to God for the power of prayer!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  • Our stuff made it!  Praise God.  Our house is set up and nothing was damaged or lost!
  • Joseph’s cold is gone!  He was battling through it last week but it is gone now!
  • Update on Maurice and Albert – I haven’t seen Maurice again but Albert came over one night last week and it was good just to hang out with him as a friend!
  • Belize – Continue to pray for Albert and his family situation (still don’t know details). Pray for my friend Eustace, a mighty man of God.  He needs employment.  I was talking to him today and he told me that he didn’t need employment that he was living like Elijah by the brook with the ravens feeding him.  But I know that he would prefer this burden be lifted from him.  Pray for my pastor, Pastor Mark – he had a serious family situation last night (I will spare the details) but he needs some prayers for wisdom and for the family situation to be taken care of.
  • Personal – For Amy to continue to adjust to the heat.  She is having the hardest time with it.  For continued protection physically, emotionally, spiritually.  For continued developing a sense of community.

I apologize for the length…too much really to put into words.  I want you all to be encouraged to pray in faith for us and for yourselves. If you need anything specific lifted up, please let me know and I will petition the Lord with you!  I look forward to your notes of encouragement.  Amy and I read every one.  Thanks for sticking with this update.  It was a doozy!
Because They Haven’t Heard,

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We Made it! (05-Sep-2012)

Praise God we made it!  We are here in Belize.  Praise be to God!  The kids did AMAZING on the plane.  Many friends greeted us at the airport AND our house was set up with all electricity, water and gas AND drinking water was there when we got there!  Praise God for wonderful Belizean friends.

Amy and I are doing ok.  It’s emotional to say the least being down here and realizing what it means.  It’s almost like I didn’t get a chance to process it all when we were in the States…all my mind was wrapped around was getting everything to the point of being here.  Now that we are here I have spent the last 48 hours a little overwhelmed by it all.

The kids are sleeping well (for those that are interested).  Our neighbors are great and helpful.  And I have made contacts with some of our friends here.  I am going to Bible Study tonight and Amy is going to a Women’s group tomorrow, so things are going pretty good.

OH and our stuff is scheduled to arrive on FRIDAY to OUR HOUSE!!!  Praise God and keep praying.  The last couple of things that we have to do to are get internet (which I am actively working on) and get our stuff out of port authority and to our house (which I am also working on).  Pray for God to open up doors not only for these two logistic items to be worked out but also for opportunities to share the Lord to be apparent to us.

 

How God is teaching me?

Today during my quiet time I was reading John 6 – 7 and I came across John 6:38 “For I came down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of the one who sent me.”  And I know that I have already written about praying like Jesus and specifically about praying for God’s will to be done.

But this verse struck me between the eyes.  Amy and I had been talking about being here and our questions to each other was “What do you want to do?”  Amy and I of course have answers and of course have ideas and sure some if not all of these ideas are from the Lord or He has laid them on our hearts.  But my prayer is that I do the will of the One who sent us here.  I pray that we can seek God’s will and His righteousness first.  Join us is praying for God’s Will to be revealed to our family for the ministry here in Belize.

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  • THE MOVE – We made it!  Praise God.  Kids were great on the plane.  House is set-up with utilities.  Pray for the last two logistics to come together (internet and house hold goods delivered by Friday!)
  • OUR MARRIAGE –We have had some really great conversations at night.  Pray that we are able to listen to each other and our emotions as we adjust to being here.  Pray that we seek Christ first and rest in His love for us and our love for each other.  Pray that this time strengthens us.
  • HEALTH – Jojo is better!  Continue to pray that the Lord would protect the kids and Amy from any sickness!
  • Belize
    • Maurice – was our bagger at Save U grocery store.  I was able to talk to him about where he lives and some of his friends were murdered just the other day.  He seems like a great kid and at an age where his friends are doing some bad stuff.  Pray for his safety.  Maurice and I are going to get together one afternoon and he is going to show me around his area.
    • Albert – My friend Albert who I met this summer asked for me to lift up a prayer for him and his family.  I don’t have any specifics but I am passing the prayer onto you all.  Please be lifting up Albert and his family!
    • Open Hearts – Pray for more divine appointments and opportunities to learn about Belize, Belizeans, and the spiritual needs of our new home!

We can’t wait to see your prayers answered.  All of our love and many many thanks and prayers!

Because they haven’t heard,

Josh, Amy, Madeline, Joseph

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