We moved. We are here. We are living. And people, groups, even relatives constantly ask “what do you do there?” This question is not ever I mean never directed towards me. After all, I am the man; I do the work. People ALWAYS ask Amy. What do you do there?
It is literally like she is sitting in an interview with the Bobs from Office Space (if you are younger than 25, check out this link for the reference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SoWNMNKNeM)
This post is dedicated solely to try and put into words what Amy is doing here in Belize (when she is not busy flipping cars, quite literally not fixing them and selling them). It will be written entirely from first person by me (Josh) but based on feelings, thoughts, conversations (Amy’s) and my (Josh) observations of her (Amy). Also, this is not meant to come down on anyone who doesn’t do what I (we) do. It literally is meant to answer the question on how I (Amy) spend my time. Here we go…
What is it I say, I do here? Great question I’m glad you asked. Let’s say that what I do here in Belize can be broken down into a few categories.
Moving here / Managing House:
Starting in about January of 2012, I begin getting everything ready to move our family of 2 adults, (1) 1.5 year old, and (1) infant to Belize. I spear-headed getting quotes from movers for an international move, working with the real-estate agent and stager, and keeping the kids from destroying the house. I also packed and tried to determine what we could “live without” both forever to sell / give away and temporary (what would get put into the container and in storage until we moved to Belize). Then one day, as movers packed up my house, I packed my car with the kids and we left our first home.
Enter getting to Belize, and quickly I find out that things are different. Those differences have graced this blog before but to do a quick recap most everything in Belize from a house-work perspective takes longer than it did in the states or there is more of it.
Here is a short list of typical chores: open air windows = dirt everywhere all the time = sweeping 3 – 4 times a day plus vacuuming furniture, no dishwasher = doing dishes after every meal or snack, no prepackaged things to eat = making everything from scratch, no dryer (for some time) = hanging laundry outside to dry in the middle of rainy season = wet, clean clothes, battling ants, driving our trash to the dump because there is no pick up, 30 ,minutes one-way drive to the grocery store, battling the constant and raging battle against the variety of animals or bugs that inhabit our house (centipedes, geckos, ants, noseeums, mosquitoes, tarantulas, etc).
Now let me get this straight. I, in no way, intend for this to be a feel sorry for me time. Where all readers sit there and mourn for Poor little Amy (third person). I only want to highlight that house work in Belize takes far longer than I had imagined and understood when I was in the states. I do realize that I took way way way too many things for granted in the states and am so thankful the Lord is showing me that now!
Incubation for 7368 hours +/- 24 hours:
Then there was the whole issue of incubation. See sometime in October of this past year (2012), I (we) got pregnant and in turn I was in incubation mode for 10 months and 7 days. For you women that know and men that think you know, pregnancy is tiring. Imagine being pregnant when your house feels 95 degrees F at night and you sweat, like you look like you just got out of the shower or swimming pool sweat, for 24 hours in a day. There were days…many many many days that I sat in front of all the fans in the house and tried to sleep / cool down.
For most of our first year I was pregnant and hot! But that was the means to get to the end of having Elijah, the next in a line of mighty men of God from the Edmonds family.
Parenting the three best kids on Earth ….well most of the time.
Madeline (3), Jojo (almost 2), and Elijah (1 month) are the biggest joys and balls of love, friendship, energy and destruction that I have ever had the pleasure of being around. I am totally and completely bias but they are the best kids on earth, most of the time. I recognize that as these children are young one of my largest priorities is to continue to raise them in conjunction with Josh in a loving Christian environment. To fulfill my mandate from the Lord of Deut 4:9 and Deut 6:4-9, take a significant amount of time here. In addition, we don’t have activities to attend that were a welcome break from the monotony of home. More times than I can remember when kids were sick or cranky we’d pile up and head to Target to walk around or Walmart, which was 3 miles down the road. Now in desperation we may go to Benny’s, the two-story hardware store, to ride the escalator. However, this simpler life does lend to more time of making things (like play-dough and bubbles), and lots and lots and lots of creative play. We sing a lot and have dance parties of which Jojos dance moves are a mix between contemporary and hip-hop (he was inspired by Twitch from So You Think You can Dance). We also build and have pretend play where animals “go to VBS” or play “worship” or “baptizing.” (poor missionary kids).
Side note: Josh frequently talks about how his head was full of hip-hop lyrics from about 1991 – 2004. He says he fights to suppress them because they are full of trash (yet quite catchy!). Anyway, so we play worship music a lot. The other day Madeline was singing Mighty to Save except instead of the real lyrics she was saying “My God is NOT Mighty to Save.” OOOOH I don’t like original sin or the enemy.
Seriously, Josh and I could write a separate blog on parenting (note: we feel we are relying on God 100% and praying that we are getting through to these young ones). The reality is teaching these kids to LOVE and LISTEN to GOD and OBEY HIM no matter what is challenging for any parent and it is a challenge I do not take lightly, therefore spending quite a bit of time on it!
Living Out Ephesians 5
In Ephesians Paul provides instruction on marriage. He commands Josh to love me as Christ loves me and commands me to respect Josh. I try to do this on a daily basis. Some days are harder than others for sure (when I am tired, kids are yelling, and Josh is doing something ridiculous). But for the most part, I try to live out our marriage with respect. This is NOT, let me say, lay down myself and follow Josh blindly for example to Belize respect. No anyone who knows me, knows that I am not that passive. Respect for Josh is deeper. It means listening to him, even when he is telling me something extremely nerdy or talking about basketball. It means submitting to him leading our family spiritually. It means knowing the power of my tongue (James 3) and not criticizing, or being snippy, etc (most importantly never criticizing him in public).
Also, I am Josh’s biggest fan and wisest critic. Always, when he is struggling with an issue or has an idea, he tells me first. We refine these together, whether it is a question on staffing, a new location, or a new idea. He takes the feedback makes necessary augmentations (sometimes) and ultimately a better “product” is born!
Finally, I sharpen Josh and point him towards holiness. In Sacred Marriage, it says “I never knew how selfish I was until I got married.” This is true of all of us, myself most definitely included. I am the one balancing Josh out. When he is answering texts during dinner. Or working during our family time, then I am the one to gently and sometimes less gently let him know. My job as his wife is to help point Josh to Jesus and that means being willing to have tough conversations!
Ministry 1 – Participating in the Local Church
We attend Hattieville Baptist church every week and most weeks more than 1 time a week. There was a time that I was teaching the youth Sunday School class each Sunday. This lasted for about 4 months, until Deon, a local Belizean older youth who was my apprentice felt comfortable enough to teach.
I also spend the time at church listening to the local women and specifically trying to get them to open up more to each other. Belize culture is very reserved and “hidden” really. They are afraid of judgement to show their “true selves” I am praying and desiring this barrier to be broken down so we can begin to see sharing of each other’s burdens in the local church (Acts 2).
Local Church Future Ministry 1 – In the very near future (next month), we will be starting a small group with Pastor Mark and Shari, a concept not tried here in our village or really much of Belize. We are praying that this ministry breaks down the barrier to the gospel for men and that entire families to come know the Lord!
Local Church Future Ministry 2 – Children’s ministry is near and dear to our hearts. We have three children and we LOVE, I repeat LOVE Belizean children. There are throngs and throngs of kids in Hattieville. Josh would say TNTC, which means something nerdy that I didn’t listen to him about (oops!). Anyway, a lot of kids! I have been feeling for some time that we should be doing something for the kids here and then Pastor Mark called Josh and says that he wants to start doing something for the kids in Hattieville (ding…Answered Prayer God). So we have been finding curriculum and discussing with Pastor Mark our logistics. We hope to start to get the word out and launch the children’s ministry on Saturday afternoons the first weekend in October! Pray for 100 kids the first Saturday!!
This year I am planning to volunteer at Madeline’s preschool once per week. This is not really about doing some activity at her school but more about ministering to the other parents that are hanging out at the school. Also, I recognize that with the kids at home Madeline and I don’t get many special girl-time moments. I am hoping this school volunteerism is a great way to connect with her on our own special level.
Praying Pelican Mission Trips
While I am not leading trips like Josh, I do travel to every trip that he leads with kids in tow. It is a great blessing to encourage our Belizean staff. Meet pastors and encourage them in their ministry, gleaning information to apply here in Hattieville. It is also fun to talk to people all over the country, most on their first mission trip. I thoroughly enjoy telling the story of how a short-term mission trip, changed our families life. AND it is a welcome break to have someone else play with the kids for a long while!
This list doesn’t include trying to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually and any hobbies that I would like to step out in (most specifically gardening). SO that’s my answer to what do you say, you do? I hope this helps!
Prayer Requests (Specifically for Amy):
- Small Group – Pray for 10 couples at our first meeting
- Josh preaching – Josh is preaching this weekend at church. Please be lifting him up.
- Madeline – is starting school on Monday. Pray for smooth adjustment for her and pray for me with the boys at home. Pray for Jojo dealing with his best buddy Madeline heading off to school.
- Kid’s Ministry – Pray for the right volunteers from our church AND for 100 kids the first Saturday
- Church Growth – Pray for 100 people to be regularly attending Hattieville Baptist Church by the end of the year