Preparing for Belize
Well, in July ‘08, Nelson “again” felt the Lord was impressing on him that it was time to leave his job. We had to remember “his job was not our source, God was.” It seemed like we would be going to Belize soon. Also, our lease was up August 1st. I asked our landlord for an extension and if we could pay month to month if necessary, so we could move when God said to move, and he said ok.
“Since this all began, it seems that we would just move when God said move and He would fill in the details.”
Nelson told Don, the pilot for Harvest Aviation, that he would be leaving. Don was elated! He said it was great timing because he wanted Nelson to be his contact in Belize but wondered how that was going to happen if he was still here in Florida. He told him there was a flight set up for the end of August, and this time someone had donated an 8 seater King Air. This was great because normally they fly over in a 4 seater and I get claustrophobic in small tight places. I begin to panic. I was really dealing with the fact that I had to get into a “small” plane.
“I wasn’t worried if we would make it, I know that if God has us on this mission, He is going to get us from point A to point B.”
So I was very pleased when he told me about the 8 seater. We set our sights on preparing for Belize.
About a week before time to leave, we were told that the King Air was having some mechanical problem and that they would instead be taking the 4 seater. Oh my God! Now I started getting nervous again. Nelson also shared something with me that the Lord told him. He said that the Lord wanted me to get used to and comfortable flying in a small plane because he wanted to use me in a greater way in the future, which would involve getting into small planes. I wanted to really please God, but He had to help me with this one. I thought often on this.
A few days before time to leave, I bought some Dramamine for motion sickness, because I had gotten sea sick on a boat before and I didn’t want to take any chances. That night I tossed and turned thinking about the plane. I kind of wondered if I should take something before the flight to relax me. I don’t like taking any drugs, I don’t trust them, and don’t like how they make me feel. I really wanted to trust God. I wanted to rely on the Holy Spirit. Would God mind that I took something? Would he still get the glory? These were my thoughts. When I awoke, as I walked into my living room, my eyes fell upon the receipt for the Dramamine on the table. I noticed a coupon with it for something called “Happy to Fly.” It said it was completely natural, all herbs. I had been taking natural supplements and was studying natural alternatives. It said it was just suppose to calm the anxiety. I considered trying this. I believed it was the Lord who made a way for me to see that coupon, so I bought it.
Happy to Fly
We packed up all of our things giving some to my daughter and placing some in storage. The morning we left we were running late. I took the “Happy to Fly” about an hour before we were to fly. I did notice a slight relaxing. I wasn’t feeling buggy, or dizzy, just relaxed. We were late and Don and Jim were helping Nelson to get the right boxes on the plane. Suzy, Don’s wife, came also to add support. I took a look at the plane and it seemed smaller than I had last remembered!
Nelson had taken this plane before with Jim and I took pictures of it. Jim, the pilot, is very experienced; he’s been flying for years. Because of the size of the plane though, I got nervous again. They told me to take a seat in the plane, to get a feel for it. Nelson and I had talked about perhaps having me ride in the front seat, maybe this way I would feel better, next to the door and not closed in so much. But Jim said no, I would be better in the back and that there was more room back there.
As you can see, things were not going “my way.” So I stepped into the plane. Jim and Mike were outside the door looking in at me.
They were saying “See, there is lots of room in the back. You will be fine.” They also told me, Cathy, one of our friends, also felt apprehensive at first, but afterwards she said it was great. I was just thinking about whether I could handle being closed in. Whether I would panic. Nervousness began to rise and I said “I don’t know….” I tried to think fast because I knew we were already behind schedule. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. So I said “No, I don’t think I’m ready, I think maybe I should stay and take a later flight, later on.” (That would be in about a month) Mike couldn’t believe I said that and said “Really?” Still unsure and trying to make up my mind, I took a deep breath. I looked out the window and saw Nelson looking in at me. Something came over me as I looked at him. Even though I was nervous, there was something a bit different. I wasn’t “panicky nervous”. The back seat “was” roomy. I surprised myself at what I said next. I said “OK, I’m gonna try.” I couldn’t believe I was saying that! Everyone was happy! Don had been outside the plane watching the scenario and taking pictures of us, while talking to Nelson.
Off to Belize
So…we were off. Nelson was so happy! You can’t imagine. I sat relaxed, yet on alert for any emotions rising up. I had ear plugs for the noise of the plane and chewing gum for when my ears tried to clog.
I was ready. We looked down at Sarasota. A nice view from the sky. Nelson kept looking behind at me, checking to see if I was ok. He reached back his hand to hold mine. After about an hour, we arrived at Marathon Airport and I called my daughter to let her know I got into the plane and that I was ok. She was happy. Then we took off again. I was more at ease this time.
Jim shared with Nelson, as they were talking about me, that it was more about the fear of the unknown. I suppose those pills were helping, but I really think the Holy Spirit had a lot to do with it.
I began taking pictures from the plane. The plane ride was very long to me so I tried to read a while, then I closed my eyes and slept for a while also to take up some of the time. Less time for me to be in spiritual battle with any sneaky emotions of fear creeping in.
After about 3 1/2 hours (yes, wow!) we arrived at the Belize Airport. The girls from the children’s home greeted us at the airport with a welcome sign that they made for us,
“Welcome Home Darnella and Poppy!”
Everyone was excited that we made it here, so I’m glad I was able to make it on the plane. They took us home and the girls wanted to help us unload our bags from the van. These are pics of the Children’s Home .
Millie handed us the keys to our temporary home, the visitor’s quarters. After taking our things inside…..
….we enjoyed a Tilapia Dinner and a welcome home Chocolate Cake!
Learning Our Surroundings
We are learning our surroundings. These are a couple of Arial views of the Children’s Home, fish ponds and property.
Nelson is learning fish farming
and helping his dad with various chores around the home and the grounds. He is also meeting some local neighbors, and those that we hire to do work for us. This is Nelson in these pics with his dad and others.
He has been meeting with a few people who have come to check out the fish ponds, including those who donate funds.
I am getting to know Millie and the girls and their routine, as well as the operation of the orphanage.
I’ve been to Belize City frequently with Millie getting things for the girls to start school as well as other errands.
The city is very different from the “Bush”. The Bush, where we live, is naturally growing palm trees,
coconut trees, mango, papaya, guava trees, mahogany trees and much more. We have cilantro, and herb, growing here on the grounds and hog plums… small plums that are either sweet or sour. Dad planted cassava trees here around the fish pond.
You eat the root of it that is sort of like a potato when cooked.
We’ve also had it as a pudding, which is like tapioca, and as a porridge, which is like cereal.
They put natural nutmeg in it, which they also put in the buns they bake.
The nutmeg is bought whole and grated into a powder.
We also have natural sugar cane growing near the fish ponds.
One day the girls were back there breaking off stalks, stripping them and eating them. Actually just chewing the juice from the stalk.
They showed me how, but I was having a hard time with it so they cut them cut it into small pieces, like french fries. This was much better! They were sweet. Of course! Sugar is made from this! We shared some with Nelson and his dad.
One of the staff brought something in for me and Poppy called a “Monkey Apple”.
It grows on a tree and tastes like sweet potato pudding to me that we make in the states. It is amazing to me that God has these tastes growing right from the tree! There are so many different types of fruits here!
Life at the Home
We eat in the children’s home with them. They have their main meal in the afternoon, 12:00, or the girls will have it when they come home from school. The main meal is usually rice, they like a lot of rice, cooked with coconut powder, with red or black beans.
They have small portions of meat. Here at the home they seldom eat vegetables, and I hear it’s not a Belizean favorite. The cooks bake Johnny cakes, small home baked breads that they eat with butter. These are usually eaten for breakfast, or tortillas, or fry jacks (the dough fried in hot oil). Frequently they bake larger breads, buns, or powder buns, a sweeter version of the bread which is made with sugar, allspice, cinnamon and fresh nutmeg.
These are sliced and served with butter. They also enjoy these with refried beans or cheese.
At night they have the breads again as a snack called “Tea,” this term of course originated from England. Included with this is hot tea or cocoa. Once in a while Millie would make the girls eggs, with corn beef hash,bacon, or whatever was left over from the main meal to have with their breads for tea. A few times she cooked some other type meals(for the main meal) like macaroni and cheese or lasagna. I cooked spaghetti for them, most of them don’t like that too much, but they ate it. The staff makes fried chicken also.
Other foods they love are pig tails with beans or dumplings, and a stew called “Bile Up”. This has boiled eggs, pig tail, fish, coconut, and other things. Here is a picture below:
The staff will sometimes cook split peas, to serve over rice, and meat. They like to have the beans in their rice, “rice and beans” but we (Nelson and I) kind of like lots of beans with the sauce, or gravy from the beans so that the rice is not so dry. I told one of the staff and she said “Oh, we call that “long water beans”. I guess because it is made with more water. They also call them stew beans. We eat Tilapia a couple of times a week. We have the Tilapia farm right here at the home. Everyone enjoys that and nothing goes to waste! Belizeans eat the whole fish, the head and the eyes also.
I think they even have a fish head soup that they make here in Belize. On Sunday the traditional Belizean meal is stewed or BBQ chicken, rice and beans and potato salad, which is made with peas and carrots mixed in. They also love tamales.
I’ve been taking lots of pictures. Pictures of the natural bush, jungle type trees, like palms and cahoons. It’s very pretty.
The girls have a basketball court and volley ball court (in process). I’ve spent some time with them building puzzles, playing jacks, even double dutch which they were not too familiar with and helping with homework.
Dad and Millie also played double dutch….
Nelson also has helped with their homework, helping them to get things from the computer, and has even played basketball and cricket with them.
Me and Poppy missed vegetables so much. Some of the local guys helped us plant a garden here of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon.
Encountering the Unfamiliar
One day we had a visit from the social worker. Since they were coming from the city all the way out to the bush, while they were here, the driver wanted to visit his sister who is out here in one of the villages. Nelson’s dad likes this guy and He and Nelson were getting along pretty well, so he asked Nelson if he wanted to come with him. As they were driving out I was walking up and Nelson introduced me and asked me if I wanted to come. So I jumped in the car with them. I didn’t remember any villages at the end of the road.
The road ends at the Belize River and curves around to a smaller road. There are some small homes in there. Well, we drove down and I was thinking, where are we going? We don’t know our way around here much yet and he was driving us.
We took the narrow road around which is along the river and then he pulled over on the side of the road and stopped. He said “there!” and pointed across the river. Nelson said “She’s over there? Well how in the world are we going to get over there?” He laughed and said someone will bring the canoe over and take us over.
As he pointed, we saw a canoe lying on the ground on the other side of the river. He asked Nelson if this was ok. Nelson said “I’m ok, but I don’t know if she is.” Nelson looked at me saying , “You’re gonna experience your first canoe ride.”
I just looked at them because I really wasn’t ready for this. I was thinking, “How did I get into this? How long was the social worker going to stay at the house? Do we have this kind of time, it would soon be dusk, and how long did he have before he was due back? We don’t even know where we are going and are we going to go across the river and be at the mercy of this guy?” He was nice, but we were really putting ourselves into a vulnerable position. He called (yelled actually) across the river and asked was his sister there. They said no, she went into the city. Thank God, I think God was on my side that time!
Nelson consoled me saying he would have just waited with me until this guy came back. He wouldn’t have made me go. But still we would be down there, on this narrow road, waiting. The guy just acted like it was nothing at all saying, “Oh, we’ll just take the canoe over.” But you know what? It is nothing to them. A woman from our staff said she lives across the river. This is a picture of me and the staff. She is the one next to me with the apron on.
She takes the canoe over each time she comes here.
Her bike stays on this side and she rides here. She also has an 8 year old that comes over on the canoe by himself, so… it is the norm to them.
We are the ones who are different. We asked her if she knew what a row boat was and she said no. She’s a real “bush woman”.
They speak English here, but it is Creole. Trying to understand some of them can be quite challenging. And we have to watch our English “slang” also. The way we speak in the states, can confuse them. One guy was building a door for us, and Nelson said he wanted him to make something else for him. Nelson said, “I want you to do that for me but, down the road.” Well, the guy looked “ down the road”, and Nelson laughed and said, “No, that is just a saying we use for sometime later on.” That was funny! Another time a young lady kept asking me for a “pot washer” and after trying hard to figure out what she was talking about, I finally realized she wanted a Brillo Pad, or SOS scrub pad. They use different terms for familiar things.
So now we are here for a month, and things are progressing. We are still finding our way, God has not been very clear on exactly what our roles will be.
Basically, we are serving as missionaries in a Children’s Orphanage. Nelson has been coming up with better ways to help the fish farming and also he has hired a group of guys to keep the grounds.
One young man he has taken under his wing. This young man has been black listed in the neighborhood for stealing. Well, Nelson felt the Lord impressing on him to give this young man another chance and minister to him.
Nelson has been very open with him letting him know that he knows about his past. He is taking him on as an apprentice. The young man “Shawn” has been very receptive and is opening up to Nelson, always trying to impress him. He as well as the other workers enjoy showing Nelson and me the “critters” they find around the grounds,
because we’re new to all of this! Shawn is turning out to be very helpful around here, and does more than is expected of him! We are beginning to believe that God definitely sent him to us, and that God is going to do something great in his life. Oh, and we now call Nelson “Poppy” because there is one Nelson here already.(His dad) That way there is no confusion.
One night when Millie and Dad took a few days off, Nelson set up a computer area for the girls, and we showed a few of them how to type on the computer.
We also showed them, on the computer, some pictures we took of them and let them view a Gospel video of Kirk Franklin’s, “Hosanna”. They enjoyed that! (Pictures below)
I am continuing to work with the girls. The high school girls get lots of projects so we are now helping them with those on the computer. We are going to see about getting more computers. Millie runs a tight ship so I am trying to see how the Lord is going to fit me in here. She is now in the states for about 3 weeks and things have relaxed a little. I am staying with the girls at night learning the routine.
They listen to secular music, and they to dance to the “punta” music (mostly lower body moves) that they play here in Belize. Sunday I noticed they played mostly gospel. I would like to add to their library, Christian books on their level.
Give them choices, and let the Lord draw them. The Lord seemed to give me the words,” Inspire/Change.” (Before I knew Obama was using this) So I think as I give them something that inspires them toward Christ, they will change.
I am sure when we get them to youth services with young people of their own culture, they will learn from them that this music they listen to can lead them down the wrong path.
The church Nelson and I attended in NY, has a youth ministry called, “Called Out” that does praise dancing and they have videos online of them. I have been showing these to the girls and they want to do this. So I am working on getting this on DVD so that they can practice. In the meantime we are practicing by the web video. The one we are practicing is “The Presence of the Lord”. We’d like to do that one with them as well as Kirk Franklin’s “ Hosanna.”
Meeting Jeff and Shira
We met Jeff and Shira, a missionary couple. They have started a couple of youth groups in some villages around and even in Belize City. What a blessing they are to the youth here. They told us there is such a need. Shira gives dance classes in a village near the city. I said I would try to bring the girls to her classes. She worked with them before. She also does work with the flags and even makes them. Wow! I remember I said I felt strongly about working with the girls, making praise flags to use in worship. This is definitely a God connection!
Poppy and I also gave out clothing to the local churches and community that were brought down by Harvest Aviation.
The clothing was sent down by Dottie from the 360 Church, who started Angel’s Attic in Sarasota Fl. These are just 2 of the churches that have been blessed and some of the clothing they have received. We’ve also given out lots of toys and stuffed animals! This has been a great blessing to many here in Belize!
“Through this we were also able to connect with many of the Pastors in the area and to be an encouragement to them.”
Other gifts were sent down from various churches, and we gave these out to the local children in the area.
Belize Flood Help
In 2008, Belize experienced a flood. Below we are driving on one of the roads …..
Tim Tam from Word at Word Ministries donated money to buy rice, flour, and sugar and bring down a trailer of canned food for relief.
He placed it here at BCE Children’s Home.
“We were blessed to be able to take part in helping local people to get help.”